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Title: Daddy Long-Legs - A Comedy in Four Acts
Author: Webster, Jean, 1876-1916
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Plate: JUDY.]


                 JEAN WEBSTER
                   Author Of
        When Patty Went To College, etc.

               With Illustrations
                 By The Author
           And Scenes From The Play


                    New York
                GROSSET & DUNLAP

  Copyright, 1912, by

  Copyright, 1912, by

  _Published October, 1912_

                    TO YOU

       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *


           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *



The first Wednesday in every month was a Perfectly Awful Day--a day
to be awaited with dread, endured with courage and forgotten with
haste. Every floor must be spotless, every chair dustless, and every
bed without a wrinkle. Ninety-seven squirming little orphans must be
scrubbed and combed and buttoned into freshly starched ginghams; and
all ninety-seven reminded of their manners, and told to say, “Yes,
sir,” “No, sir,” whenever a Trustee spoke.

It was a distressing time; and poor Jerusha Abbott, being the oldest
orphan, had to bear the brunt of it. But this particular first
Wednesday, like its predecessors, finally dragged itself to a close.
Jerusha escaped from the pantry where she had been making sandwiches
for the asylum’s guests, and turned upstairs to accomplish her
regular work. Her special care was room F, where eleven little tots,
from four to seven, occupied eleven little cots set in a row.
Jerusha assembled her charges, straightened their rumpled frocks,
wiped their noses, and started them in an orderly and willing line
toward the dining-room to engage themselves for a blessed half hour
with bread and milk and prune pudding.

Then she dropped down on the window seat and leaned throbbing
temples against the cool glass. She had been on her feet since five
that morning, doing everybody’s bidding, scolded and hurried by a
nervous matron. Mrs. Lippett, behind the scenes, did not always
maintain that calm and pompous dignity with which she faced an
audience of Trustees and lady visitors. Jerusha gazed out across a
broad stretch of frozen lawn, beyond the tall iron paling that
marked the confines of the asylum, down undulating ridges sprinkled
with country estates, to the spires of the village rising from the
midst of bare trees.

The day was ended--quite successfully, so far as she knew. The
Trustees and the visiting committee had made their rounds, and read
their reports, and drunk their tea, and now were hurrying home to
their own cheerful firesides, to forget their bothersome little
charges for another month. Jerusha leaned forward watching with
curiosity--and a touch of wistfulness--the stream of carriages and
automobiles that rolled out of the asylum gates. In imagination she
followed first one equipage then another to the big houses dotted
along the hillside. She pictured herself in a fur coat and a velvet
hat trimmed with feathers leaning back in the seat and nonchalantly
murmuring “Home” to the driver. But on the door-sill of her home the
picture grew blurred.

Jerusha had an imagination--an imagination, Mrs. Lippett told her,
that would get her into trouble if she didn’t take care--but keen
as it was, it could not carry her beyond the front porch of the
houses she would enter. Poor, eager, adventurous little Jerusha, in
all her seventeen years, had never stepped inside an ordinary house;
she could not picture the daily routine of those other human beings
who carried on their lives undiscommoded by orphans.

  Je-ru-sha Ab-bott
  You are wan-ted
  In the of-fice,
  And I think you’d
  Better hurry up!

Tommy Dillon who had joined the choir, came singing up the stairs
and down the corridor, his chant growing louder as he approached
room F. Jerusha wrenched herself from the window and refaced the
troubles of life.

“Who wants me?” she cut into Tommy’s chant with a note of sharp

  Mrs. Lippett in the office,
  And I think she’s mad.

Tommy piously intoned, but his accent was not entirely malicious.
Even the most hardened little orphan felt sympathy for an erring
sister who was summoned to the office to face an annoyed matron; and
Tommy liked Jerusha even if she did sometimes jerk him by the arm
and nearly scrub his nose off.

Jerusha went without comment, but with two parallel lines on her
brow. What could have gone wrong, she wondered. Were the sandwiches
not thin enough? Were there shells in the nut cakes? Had a
lady visitor seen the hole in Susie Hawthorn’s stocking?
Had--O horrors!--one of the cherubic little babes in her own
room F “sassed” a Trustee?

The long lower hall had not been lighted, and as she came
downstairs, a last Trustee stood, on the point of departure, in the
open door that led to the porte-cochère. Jerusha caught only a
fleeting impression of the man--and the impression consisted
entirely of tallness. He was waving his arm toward an automobile
waiting in the curved drive. As it sprang into motion and
approached, head on for an instant, the glaring headlights threw his
shadow sharply against the wall inside. The shadow pictured
grotesquely elongated legs and arms that ran along the floor and up
the wall of the corridor. It looked, for all the world, like a huge,
wavering daddy-long-legs.

Jerusha’s anxious frown gave place to quick laughter. She was by
nature a sunny soul, and had always snatched the tiniest excuse to
be amused. If one could derive any sort of entertainment out of the
oppressive fact of a Trustee, it was something unexpected to the
good. She advanced to the office quite cheered by the tiny episode,
and presented a smiling face to Mrs. Lippett. To her surprise the
matron was also, if not exactly smiling, at least appreciably
affable; she wore an expression almost as pleasant as the one she
donned for visitors.

“Sit down, Jerusha, I have something to say to you.”

Jerusha dropped into the nearest chair and waited with a touch of
breathlessness. An automobile flashed past the window; Mrs. Lippett
glanced after it.

“Did you notice the gentleman who has just gone?”

“I saw his back.”

“He is one of our most affluential Trustees, and has given large
sums of money toward the asylum’s support. I am not at liberty to
mention his name; he expressly stipulated that he was to remain

Jerusha’s eyes widened slightly; she was not accustomed to being
summoned to the office to discuss the eccentricities of Trustees
with the matron.

“This gentleman has taken an interest in several of our boys.
You remember Charles Benton and Henry Freize? They were both sent
through college by Mr.--er--this Trustee, and both have repaid with
hard work and success the money that was so generously expended.
Other payment the gentleman does not wish. Heretofore his
philanthropies have been directed solely toward the boys; I have
never been able to interest him in the slightest degree in any of
the girls in the institution, no matter how deserving. He does not,
I may tell you, care for girls.”

“No, ma’am,” Jerusha murmured, since some reply seemed to be
expected at this point.

“To-day at the regular meeting, the question of your future was
brought up.”

Mrs. Lippett allowed a moment of silence to fall, then resumed in a
slow, placid manner extremely trying to her hearer’s suddenly
tightened nerves.

“Usually, as you know, the children are not kept after they are
sixteen, but an exception was made in your case. You had finished
our school at fourteen, and having done so well in your studies--not
always, I must say, in your conduct--it was determined to let you go
on in the village high school. Now you are finishing that, and of
course the asylum cannot be responsible any longer for your support.
As it is, you have had two years more than most.”

Mrs. Lippett overlooked the fact that Jerusha had worked hard for
her board during those two years, that the convenience of the asylum
had come first and her education second; that on days like the
present she was kept at home to scrub.

“As I say, the question of your future was brought up and your
record was discussed--thoroughly discussed.”

Mrs. Lippett brought accusing eyes to bear upon the prisoner in the
dock, and the prisoner looked guilty because it seemed to be
expected--not because she could remember any strikingly black pages
in her record.

“Of course the usual disposition of one in your place would be to
put you in a position where you could begin to work, but you have
done well in school in certain branches; it seems that your work in
English has even been brilliant. Miss Pritchard who is on our
visiting committee is also on the school board; she has been talking
with your rhetoric teacher, and made a speech in your favor. She
also read aloud an essay that you had written entitled, ‘Blue

Jerusha’s guilty expression this time was not assumed.

“It seemed to me that you showed little gratitude in holding up to
ridicule the institution that has done so much for you. Had you not
managed to be funny I doubt if you would have been forgiven. But
fortunately for you, Mr. ----, that is, the gentleman who has just
gone--appears to have an immoderate sense of humor. On the strength
of that impertinent paper, he has offered to send you to college.”

“To college?” Jerusha’s eyes grew big.

Mrs. Lippett nodded.

“He waited to discuss the terms with me. They are unusual. The
gentleman, I may say, is erratic. He believes that you have
originality, and he is planning to educate you to become a writer.”

“A writer?” Jerusha’s mind was numbed. She could only repeat Mrs.
Lippett’s words.

“That is his wish. Whether anything will come of it, the future will
show. He is giving you a very liberal allowance, almost, for a girl
who has never had any experience in taking care of money, too
liberal. But he planned the matter in detail, and I did not feel
free to make any suggestions. You are to remain here through the
summer, and Miss Pritchard has kindly offered to superintend your
outfit. Your board and tuition will be paid directly to the college,
and you will receive in addition during the four years you are
there, an allowance of thirty-five dollars a month. This will enable
you to enter on the same standing as the other students. The money
will be sent to you by the gentleman’s private secretary once a
month, and in return, you will write a letter of acknowledgment once
a month. That is--you are not to thank him for the money; he
doesn’t care to have that mentioned, but you are to write a letter
telling of the progress in your studies and the details of your
daily life. Just such a letter as you would write to your parents if
they were living.

“These letters will be addressed to Mr. John Smith and will be sent
in care of the secretary. The gentleman’s name is not John Smith,
but he prefers to remain unknown. To you he will never be anything
but John Smith. His reason in requiring the letters is that he
thinks nothing so fosters facility in literary expression as
letter-writing. Since you have no family with whom to correspond, he
desires you to write in this way; also, he wishes to keep track of
your progress. He will never answer your letters, nor in the
slightest particular take any notice of them. He detests
letter-writing, and does not wish you to become a burden. If any
point should ever arise where an answer would seem to be
imperative--such as in the event of your being expelled, which I
trust will not occur--you may correspond with Mr. Griggs, his
secretary. These monthly letters are absolutely obligatory on your
part; they are the only payment that Mr. Smith requires, so you must
be as punctilious in sending them as though it were a bill that you
were paying. I hope that they will always be respectful in tone and
will reflect credit on your training. You must remember that you are
writing to a Trustee of the John Grier Home.”

Jerusha’s eyes longingly sought the door. Her head was in a whirl of
excitement, and she wished only to escape from Mrs. Lippett’s
platitudes, and think. She rose and took a tentative step backwards.
Mrs. Lippett detained her with a gesture; it was an oratorical
opportunity not to be slighted.

“I trust that you are properly grateful for this very rare good
fortune that has befallen you? Not many girls in your position ever
have such an opportunity to rise in the world. You must always

“I--yes, ma’am, thank you. I think, if that’s all, I must go and
sew a patch on Freddie Perkins’s trousers.”

The door closed behind her, and Mrs. Lippett watched it with dropped
jaw, her peroration in mid-air.





    September 24th.

  _Dear Kind-Trustee-Who-Sends-Orphans-to-College,_

Here I am! I traveled yesterday for four hours in a train. It’s a
funny sensation isn’t it? I never rode in one before.

College is the biggest, most bewildering place--I get lost whenever
I leave my room. I will write you a description later when I’m
feeling less muddled; also I will tell you about my lessons. Classes
don’t begin until Monday morning, and this is Saturday night. But I
wanted to write a letter first just to get acquainted.

It seems queer to be writing letters to somebody you don’t know. It
seems queer for me to be writing letters at all--I’ve never written
more than three or four in my life, so please overlook it if these
are not a model kind.

Before leaving yesterday morning, Mrs. Lippett and I had a very
serious talk. She told me how to behave all the rest of my life, and
especially how to behave toward the kind gentleman who is doing so
much for me. I must take care to be Very Respectful.

But how can one be very respectful to a person who wishes to be
called John Smith? Why couldn’t you have picked out a name with a
little personality? I might as well write letters to Dear
Hitching-Post or Dear Clothes-Pole.

I have been thinking about you a great deal this summer; having
somebody take an interest in me after all these years, makes me feel
as though I had found a sort of family. It seems as though I
belonged to somebody now, and it’s a very comfortable sensation.
I must say, however, that when I think about you, my imagination has
very little to work upon. There are just three things that I know:

    I. You are tall.
   II. You are rich.
  III. You hate girls.

I suppose I might call you Dear Mr. Girl-Hater. Only that’s sort of
insulting to me. Or Dear Mr. Rich-Man, but that’s insulting to you,
as though money were the only important thing about you. Besides,
being rich is such a very external quality. Maybe you won’t stay
rich all your life; lots of very clever men get smashed up in Wall
Street. But at least you will stay tall all your life! So I’ve
decided to call you Dear Daddy-Long-Legs. I hope you won’t mind.
It’s just a private pet name--we won’t tell Mrs. Lippett.

The ten o’clock bell is going to ring in two minutes. Our day is
divided into sections by bells. We eat and sleep and study by bells.
It’s very enlivening; I feel like a fire horse all of the time.
There it goes! Lights out. Good night.

Observe with what precision I obey rules--due to my training in the
John Grier Home.

  Yours most respectfully,


_To Mr. Daddy-Long-Legs Smith._

  October 1st.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I love college and I love you for sending me--I’m very, _very_
happy, and so excited every moment of the time that I can scarcely
sleep. You can’t imagine how different it is from the John Grier
Home. I never dreamed there was such a place in the world. I’m
feeling sorry for everybody who isn’t a girl and who can’t come
here; I am sure the college you attended when you were a boy
couldn’t have been so nice.

My room is up in a tower that used to be the contagious ward before
they built the new infirmary. There are three other girls on the
same floor of the tower--a Senior who wears spectacles and is always
asking us please to be a little more quiet, and two Freshmen named
Sallie McBride and Julia Rutledge Pendleton. Sallie has red hair and
a turn-up nose and is quite friendly; Julia comes from one of the
first families in New York and hasn’t noticed me yet. They room
together and the Senior and I have singles. Usually Freshmen can’t
get singles; they are very scarce, but I got one without even
asking. I suppose the registrar didn’t think it would be right to
ask a properly brought-up girl to room with a foundling. You see
there are advantages!

My room is on the northwest corner with two windows and a view.
After you’ve lived in a ward for eighteen years with twenty
room-mates, it is restful to be alone. This is the first chance
I’ve ever had to get acquainted with Jerusha Abbott. I think I’m
going to like her.

Do you think you are?


They are organizing the Freshman basket-ball team and there’s just
a chance that I shall make it. I’m little of course, but terribly
quick and wiry and tough. While the others are hopping about in the
air, I can dodge under their feet and grab the ball. It’s loads of
fun practising--out in the athletic field in the afternoon with the
trees all red and yellow and the air full of the smell of burning
leaves, and everybody laughing and shouting. These are the happiest
girls I ever saw--and I am the happiest of all!

I meant to write a long letter and tell you all the things I’m
learning (Mrs. Lippett said you wanted to know) but 7th hour has
just rung, and in ten minutes I’m due at the athletic field in
gymnasium clothes. Don’t you hope I’ll make the team?

  Yours always,


P. S. (9 o’clock.)

Sallie McBride just poked her head in at my door. This is what she

“I’m so homesick that I simply can’t stand it. Do you feel that

I smiled a little and said no, I thought I could pull through. At
least homesickness is one disease that I’ve escaped! I never heard
of anybody being asylumsick, did you?

  October 10th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Did you ever hear of Michael Angelo?

He was a famous artist who lived in Italy in the Middle Ages.
Everybody in English Literature seemed to know about him and the
whole class laughed because I thought he was an archangel. He sounds
like an archangel, doesn’t he? The trouble with college is that you
are expected to know such a lot of things you’ve never learned.
It’s very embarrassing at times. But now, when the girls talk about
things that I never heard of, I just keep still and look them up in
the encyclopedia.

I made an awful mistake the first day. Somebody mentioned Maurice
Maeterlinck, and I asked if she was a Freshman. That joke has gone
all over college. But anyway, I’m just as bright in class as any of
the others--and brighter than some of them!

Do you care to know how I’ve furnished my room? It’s a symphony in
brown and yellow. The wall was tinted buff, and I’ve bought yellow
denim curtains and cushions and a mahogany desk (second hand for
three dollars) and a rattan chair and a brown rug with an ink spot
in the middle. I stand the chair over the spot.

The windows are up high; you can’t look out from an ordinary seat.
But I unscrewed the looking-glass from the back of the bureau,
upholstered the top, and moved it up against the window. It’s just
the right height for a window seat. You pull out the drawers like
steps and walk up. Very comfortable!

Sallie McBride helped me choose the things at the Senior auction.
She has lived in a house all her life and knows about furnishing.
You can’t imagine what fun it is to shop and pay with a real
five-dollar bill and get some change--when you’ve never had more
than a nickel in your life. I assure you, Daddy dear, I do
appreciate that allowance.

Sallie is the most entertaining person in the world--and Julia
Rutledge Pendleton the least so. It’s queer what a mixture the
registrar can make in the matter of room-mates. Sallie thinks
everything is funny--even flunking--and Julia is bored at
everything. She never makes the slightest effort to be amiable. She
believes that if you are a Pendleton, that fact alone admits you to
heaven without any further examination. Julia and I were born to be

And now I suppose you’ve been waiting very impatiently to hear what
I am learning?

I. _Latin:_ Second Punic war. Hannibal and his forces pitched camp
at Lake Trasimenus last night. They prepared an ambuscade for the
Romans, and a battle took place at the fourth watch this morning.
Romans in retreat.

II. _French:_ 24 pages of the “Three Musketeers” and third
conjugation, irregular verbs.

III. _Geometry:_ Finished cylinders; now doing cones.

IV. _English:_ Studying exposition. My style improves daily in
clearness and brevity.

V. _Physiology:_ Reached the digestive system. Bile and the pancreas
next time.

  Yours, on the way to being educated,


P. S. I hope you never touch alcohol, Daddy?

It does dreadful things to your liver.


  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I’ve changed my name.

I’m still “Jerusha” in the catalogue, but I’m “Judy” every place
else. It’s sort of too bad, isn’t it, to have to give yourself the
only pet name you ever had? I didn’t quite make up the Judy though.
That’s what Freddie Perkins used to call me before he could talk

I wish Mrs. Lippett would use a little more ingenuity about choosing
babies’ names. She gets the last names out of the telephone
book--you’ll find Abbott on the first page--and she picks the
Christian names up anywhere; she got Jerusha from a tombstone. I’ve
always hated it; but I rather like Judy. It’s such a silly name.
It belongs to the kind of girl I’m not--a sweet little blue-eyed
thing, petted and spoiled by all the family, who romps her way
through life without any cares. Wouldn’t it be nice to be like
that? Whatever faults I may have, no one can ever accuse me of
having been spoiled by my family! But it’s sort of fun to pretend
I’ve been. In the future please always address me as Judy.

Do you want to know something? I have three pairs of kid gloves.
I’ve had kid mittens before from the Christmas tree, but never real
kid gloves with five fingers. I take them out and try them on every
little while. It’s all I can do not to wear them to classes.

(Dinner bell. Good-by.)



What do you think, Daddy? The English instructor said that my last
paper shows an unusual amount of originality. She did, truly. Those
were her words. It doesn’t seem possible, does it, considering the
eighteen years of training that I’ve had? The aim of the John Grier
Home (as you doubtless know and heartily approve of) is to turn the
ninety-seven orphans into ninety-seven twins.

  [Illustration: “ANY ORPHAN
  Rear Elevation   Front Elevation”]

The unusual artistic ability which I exhibit, was developed at an
early age through drawing chalk pictures of Mrs. Lippett on the
woodshed door.

I hope that I don’t hurt your feelings when I criticize the home of
my youth? But you have the upper hand, you know, for if I become too
impertinent, you can always stop payment on your checks. That isn’t
a very polite thing to say--but you can’t expect me to have any
manners; a foundling asylum isn’t a young ladies’ finishing school.

You know, Daddy, it isn’t the work that is going to be hard in
college. It’s the play. Half the time I don’t know what the girls
are talking about; their jokes seem to relate to a past that every
one but me has shared. I’m a foreigner in the world and I don’t
understand the language. It’s a miserable feeling. I’ve had it all
my life. At the high school the girls would stand in groups and just
look at me. I was queer and different and everybody knew it. I could
_feel_ “John Grier Home” written on my face. And then a few
charitable ones would make a point of coming up and saying something
polite. _I hated every one of them_--the charitable ones most of

Nobody here knows that I was brought up in an asylum. I told Sallie
McBride that my mother and father were dead, and that a kind old
gentleman was sending me to college--which is entirely true so far
as it goes. I don’t want you to think I am a coward, but I do want
to be like the other girls, and that Dreadful Home looming over my
childhood is the one great big difference. If I can turn my back on
that and shut out the remembrance, I think I might be just as
desirable as any other girl. I don’t believe there’s any real,
underneath difference, do you?

Anyway, Sallie McBride likes me!

  Yours ever,


    (Née Jerusha.)

  Saturday morning.

I’ve just been reading this letter over and it sounds pretty
un-cheerful. But can’t you guess that I have a special topic due
Monday morning and a review in geometry and a very sneezy cold?


I forgot to mail this yesterday so I will add an indignant
postscript. We had a bishop this morning, and _what do you think he

“The most beneficent promise made us in the Bible is this, ‘The poor
ye have always with you.’ They were put here in order to keep us

The poor, please observe, being a sort of useful domestic animal.
If I hadn’t grown into such a perfect lady, I should have gone up
after service and told him what I thought.

  October 25th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I’ve made the basket-ball team and you ought to see the bruise on
my left shoulder. It’s blue and mahogany with little streaks of
orange. Julia Pendleton tried for the team, but she didn’t make it.

You see what a mean disposition I have.

College gets nicer and nicer. I like the girls and the teachers and
the classes and the campus and the things to eat. We have ice-cream
twice a week and we never have corn-meal mush.

You only wanted to hear from me once a month, didn’t you? And I’ve
been peppering you with letters every few days! But I’ve been so
excited about all these new adventures that I _must_ talk to
somebody; and you’re the only one I know. Please excuse my
exuberance; I’ll settle pretty soon. If my letters bore you, you
can always toss them into the waste-basket. I promise not to write
another till the middle of November.

  Yours most loquaciously,


  [Illustration: “Judy at Basket Ball”]

  November 15th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Listen to what I’ve learned to-day:

The area of the convex surface of the frustum of a regular pyramid
is half the product of the sum of the perimeters of its bases by the
altitude of either of its trapezoids.

It doesn’t sound true, but it is--I can prove it!

You’ve never heard about my clothes, have you, Daddy? Six dresses,
all new and beautiful and bought for me--not handed down from
somebody bigger. Perhaps you don’t realize what a climax that marks
in the career of an orphan? You gave them to me, and I am very,
very, _very_ much obliged. It’s a fine thing to be educated--but
nothing compared to the dizzying experience of owning six new
dresses. Miss Pritchard who is on the visiting committee picked them
out--not Mrs. Lippett, thank goodness. I have an evening dress, pink
mull over silk (I’m perfectly beautiful in that), and a blue church
dress, and a dinner dress of red veiling with Oriental trimming
(makes me look like a Gipsy) and another of rose-colored challis,
and a gray street suit, and an every-day dress for classes. That
wouldn’t be an awfully big wardrobe for Julia Rutledge Pendleton,
perhaps, but for Jerusha Abbott--Oh, my!

I suppose you’re thinking now what a frivolous, shallow, little
beast she is, and what a waste of money to educate a girl?

But Daddy, if you’d been dressed in checked ginghams all your life,
you’d appreciate how I feel. And when I started to the high school,
I entered upon another period even worse than the checked ginghams.

The poor box.

You can’t know how I dreaded appearing in school in those miserable
poor-box dresses. I was perfectly sure to be put down in class next
to the girl who first owned my dress, and she would whisper and
giggle and point it out to the others. The bitterness of wearing
your enemies’ cast-off clothes eats into your soul. If I wore silk
stockings for the rest of my life, I don’t believe I could
obliterate the scar.


  News from the Scene of Action.

At the fourth watch on Thursday the 13th of November, Hannibal
routed the advance guard of the Romans and led the Carthaginian
forces over the mountains into the plains of Casilinum. A cohort of
light armed Numidians engaged the infantry of Quintus Fabius
Maximus. Two battles and light skirmishing. Romans repulsed with
heavy losses.

    I have the honor of being,
  Your special correspondent from the front

    J. ABBOTT.

P. S. I know I’m not to expect any letters in return, and I’ve
been warned not to bother you with questions, but tell me, Daddy,
just this once--are you awfully old or just a little old? And are
you perfectly bald or just a little bald? It is very difficult
thinking about you in the abstract like a theorem in geometry.

Given a tall rich man who hates girls, but is very generous to one
quite impertinent girl, what does he look like?


  December 19th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

You never answered my question and it was very important.



I have it planned exactly what you look like--very satisfactorily--until
I reach the top of your head, and then I _am_ stuck. I can’t decide
whether you have white hair or black hair or sort of sprinkly gray
hair or maybe none at all.

Here is your portrait:

But the problem is, shall I add some hair?

Would you like to know what color your eyes are? They’re gray, and
your eyebrows stick out like a porch roof (beetling, they’re called
in novels) and your mouth is a straight line with a tendency to turn
down at the corners. Oh, you see, I know! You’re a snappy old thing
with a temper.

(Chapel bell.)

  9.45 P. M.

I have a new unbreakable rule: never, never to study at night no
matter how many written reviews are coming in the morning. Instead,
I read just plain books--I have to, you know, because there are
eighteen blank years behind me. You wouldn’t believe, Daddy, what
an abyss of ignorance my mind is; I am just realizing the depths
myself. The things that most girls with a properly assorted family
and a home and friends and a library know by absorption, I have
never heard of. For example:

I never read “Mother Goose” or “David Copperfield” or “Ivanhoe” or
“Cinderella” or “Blue Beard” or “Robinson Crusoe” or “Jane Eyre” or
“Alice in Wonderland” or a word of Rudyard Kipling. I didn’t know
that Henry the Eighth was married more than once or that Shelley was
a poet. I didn’t know that people used to be monkeys and that the
Garden of Eden was a beautiful myth. I didn’t know that R.L.S.
stood for Robert Louis Stevenson or that George Eliot was a lady.
I had never seen a picture of the “Mona Lisa” and (it’s true but
you won’t believe it) I had never heard of Sherlock Holmes.

Now, I know all of these things and a lot of others besides, but you
can see how much I need to catch up. And oh, but it’s fun! I look
forward all day to evening, and then I put an “engaged” on the door
and get into my nice red bath robe and furry slippers and pile all
the cushions behind me on the couch and light the brass student lamp
at my elbow, and read and read and read. One book isn’t enough.
I have four going at once. Just now, they’re Tennyson’s poems and
“Vanity Fair” and Kipling’s “Plain Tales” and--don’t laugh--“Little
Women.” I find that I am the only girl in college who wasn’t
brought up on “Little Women.” I haven’t told anybody though (that
_would_ stamp me as queer). I just quietly went and bought it with
$1.12 of my last month’s allowance; and the next time somebody
mentions pickled limes, I’ll know what she is talking about!

(Ten o’clock bell. This is a very interrupted letter.)



I have the honor to report fresh explorations in the field of
geometry. On Friday last we abandoned our former works in
parallelopipeds and proceeded to truncated prisms. We are finding
the road rough and very uphill.


The Christmas holidays begin next week and the trunks are up. The
corridors are so cluttered that you can hardly get through, and
everybody is so bubbling over with excitement that studying is
getting left out. I’m going to have a beautiful time in vacation;
there’s another Freshman who lives in Texas staying behind, and we
are planning to take long walks and--if there’s any ice--learn to
skate. Then there is still the whole library to be read--and three
empty weeks to do it in!

Good-by, Daddy, I hope that you are feeling as happy as I am.

  Yours ever,


P. S. Don’t forget to answer my question. If you don’t want the
trouble of writing, have your secretary telegraph. He can just say:

  Mr. Smith is quite bald,
  Mr. Smith is not bald,
  Mr. Smith has white hair.

And you can deduct the twenty-five cents out of my allowance.

Good-by till January--and a merry Christmas!

  Toward the end of
  the Christmas vacation.
  Exact date unknown.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Is it snowing where you are? All the world that I see from my tower
is draped in white and the flakes are coming down as big as
pop-corn. It’s late afternoon--the sun is just setting (a cold
yellow color) behind some colder violet hills, and I am up in my
window seat using the last light to write to you.

Your five gold pieces were a surprise! I’m not used to receiving
Christmas presents. You have already given me such lots of
things--everything I have, you know--that I don’t quite feel that I
deserve extras. But I like them just the same. Do you want to know
what I bought with my money?

I. A silver watch in a leather case to wear on my wrist and get me
to recitations on time.

II. Matthew Arnold’s poems.

III. A hot water bottle.

IV. A steamer rug. (My tower is cold.)

V. Five hundred sheets of yellow manuscript paper. (I’m going to
commence being an author pretty soon.)

VI. A dictionary of synonyms. (To enlarge the author’s vocabulary.)

VII. (I don’t much like to confess this last item, but I will.)
A pair of silk stockings.

And now, Daddy, never say I don’t tell all!

It was a very low motive, if you must know it, that prompted the
silk stockings. Julia Pendleton comes into my room to do geometry,
and she sits cross legged on the couch and wears silk stockings
every night. But just wait--as soon as she gets back from vacation I
shall go in and sit on her couch in my silk stockings. You see,
Daddy, the miserable creature that I am--but at least I’m honest;
and you knew already, from my asylum record, that I wasn’t perfect,
didn’t you?

To recapitulate (that’s the way the English instructor begins every
other sentence), I am _very_ much obliged for my seven presents.
I’m pretending to myself that they came in a box from my family in
California. The watch is from father, the rug from mother, the hot
water bottle from grandmother--who is always worrying for fear I
shall catch cold in this climate--and the yellow paper from my
little brother Harry. My sister Isobel gave me the silk stockings,
and Aunt Susan the Matthew Arnold poems; Uncle Harry (little Harry
is named for him) gave me the dictionary. He wanted to send
chocolates, but I insisted on synonyms.

You don’t object do you, to playing the part of a composite family?

And now, shall I tell you about my vacation, or are you only
interested in my education as such? I hope you appreciate the
delicate shade of meaning in “as such.” It is the latest addition to
my vocabulary.

The girl from Texas is named Leonora Fenton. (Almost as funny as
Jerusha, isn’t it?) I like her, but not so much as Sallie McBride;
I shall never like any one so much as Sallie--except you. I must
always like you the best of all, because you’re my whole family
rolled into one. Leonora and I and two Sophomores have walked ’cross
country every pleasant day and explored the whole neighborhood,
dressed in short skirts and knit jackets and caps, and carrying
shinny sticks to whack things with. Once we walked into town--four
miles--and stopped at a restaurant where the college girls go for
dinner. Broiled lobster (35 cents) and for dessert, buckwheat cakes
and maple syrup (15 cents). Nourishing and cheap.

It was such a lark! Especially for me, because it was so awfully
different from the asylum--I feel like an escaped convict every time
I leave the campus. Before I thought, I started to tell the others
what an experience I was having. The cat was almost out of the bag
when I grabbed it by its tail and pulled it back. It’s awfully hard
for me not to tell everything I know. I’m a very confiding soul by
nature; if I didn’t have you to tell things to, I’d burst.

We had a molasses candy pull last Friday evening, given by the house
matron of Fergussen to the left-behinds in the other halls. There
were twenty-two of us altogether, Freshmen and Sophomores and
Juniors and Seniors all united in amicable accord. The kitchen is
huge, with copper pots and kettles hanging in rows on the stone
wall--the littlest casserole among them about the size of a wash
boiler. Four hundred girls live in Fergussen. The chef, in a white
cap and apron, fetched out twenty-two other white caps and aprons--I
can’t imagine where he got so many--and we all turned ourselves into

It was great fun, though I have seen better candy. When it was
finally finished, and ourselves and the kitchen and the door-knobs
all thoroughly sticky, we organized a procession and still in our
caps and aprons, each carrying a big fork or spoon or frying pan, we
marched through the empty corridors to the officers’ parlor where
half-a-dozen professors and instructors were passing a tranquil
evening. We serenaded them with college songs and offered
refreshments. They accepted politely but dubiously. We left them
sucking chunks of molasses candy, sticky and speechless.

So you see, Daddy, my education progresses!


Don’t you really think that I ought to be an artist instead of an

Vacation will be over in two days and I shall be glad to see the
girls again. My tower is just a trifle lonely; when nine people
occupy a house that was built for four hundred, they do rattle
around a bit.

Eleven pages--poor Daddy, you must be tired! I meant this to be just
a short little thank-you note--but when I get started I seem to have
a ready pen.

Good-by, and thank you for thinking of me--I should be perfectly
happy except for one little threatening cloud on the horizon.
Examinations come in February.

  Yours with love,


P. S. Maybe it isn’t proper to send love? If it isn’t, please
excuse. But I must love somebody and there’s only you and Mrs.
Lippett to choose between, so you see--you’ll _have_ to put up with
it, Daddy dear, because I can’t love her.

  On the Eve.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

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

Julia Pendleton dropped in this evening to pay a social call, and
stayed a solid 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

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. On the topmost branches of her
family tree there’s a superior breed of monkeys, with very fine
silky hair and extra long tails.

I meant to write you a nice, cheerful, entertaining letter to-night,
but I’m too sleepy--and scared. The Freshman’s lot is not a happy

  Yours, about to be examined,



  _Dearest Daddy-Long-Legs_,

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 humor 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 honor for a Freshman. My English instructor
stopped me on the way out from chapel last night, and said it was a
charming piece of work except for the sixth line, which had too many
feet. 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.

We had a very inspiring sermon this morning preached by the Bishop
of Alabama. His text was: “Judge not that ye be not judged.” It was
about the necessity of overlooking mistakes in others, and not
discouraging people by harsh judgments. I wish you might have heard

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 humor? I flunked 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 _bushels_ of
poetry--really necessary novels like “Vanity Fair” and “Richard
Feverel” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Also Emerson’s “Essays” and
Lockhart’s “Life of Scott” and the first volume of Gibbon’s “Roman
Empire” and half of Benvenuto Cellini’s “Life”--wasn’t he
entertaining? He used to saunter out and casually kill a man before

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
flunk again?

  Yours in sackcloth,


  [Illustration: “NEWS of the MONTH
  Judy learns to skate
  And to vault a bar (Legs are very difficult.)
  Also to slide down a rope
  She receives two flunk notes and sheds many tears
  But promises to study HARD”]

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

This is an extra letter in the middle of the month because I’m sort
of lonely to-night. It’s awfully stormy; the snow is beating
against my tower. 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 to-night--but,
there’s no doubt about it, I’m a very languid Latin scholar.
We’ve finished Livy and De Senectute and are now engaged with De
Amicitia (pronounced Damn Icitia).

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 to-night. 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.


  The Ides of March.

  _Dear D. L. L._,

I am studying Latin prose composition. I have been studying it.
I shall be studying it. I shall be about to have been studying it.
My reëxamination comes the 7th hour next Tuesday, and I am going to
pass or BUST. So you may expect to hear from me next, whole and
happy and free from conditions, or in fragments.

I will write a respectable letter when it’s over. To-night I have a
pressing engagement with the Ablative Absolute.

  Yours--in evident haste,

    J. A.

  March 26th.

  _Mr. D. L. L. Smith._

SIR: You never answer any questions; you never show the slightest
interest in anything I do. You are probably the horridest one of all
those horrid Trustees, and the reason you are educating me is, not
because you care a bit about me, but from a sense of Duty.

I don’t know a single thing about you. I don’t even know your name.
It is very uninspiring writing to a Thing. I haven’t a doubt but
that you throw my letters into the waste-basket without reading
them. Hereafter I shall write only about work.

My reëxaminations in Latin and geometry came last week. I passed
them both and am now free from conditions.

  Yours truly,


  April 2d.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I am a BEAST.

Please forget about that dreadful letter I sent you last week--I was
feeling terribly lonely and miserable and sore-throaty the night I
wrote. I didn’t know it, but I was just coming down with tonsilitis
and grippe and lots of things mixed. I’m in the infirmary now, and
have been here for six days; this is the first time they would let
me sit up and have a pen and paper. The head nurse is _very bossy_.
But I’ve been thinking about it all the time and I shan’t get well
until you forgive me.

Here is a picture of the way I look, with a bandage tied around my
head in rabbit’s ears.


Doesn’t that arouse your sympathy? I am having sublingual gland
swelling. And I’ve been studying physiology all the year without
ever hearing of sublingual glands. How futile a thing is education!

I can’t write any more; I get sort of shaky when I sit up too long.
Please forgive me for being impertinent and ungrateful. I was badly
brought up.

  Yours with love,



  April 4th.

  _Dearest Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Yesterday evening just toward dark, when I was sitting up in bed
looking out at the rain and feeling awfully bored with life in a
great institution, the nurse appeared with a long white box
addressed to me, and filled with the _loveliest_ pink rosebuds. And
much nicer still, it contained a card with a very polite message
written in a funny little uphill back hand (but one which shows a
great deal of character). Thank you, Daddy, a thousand times. Your
flowers make the first real, true present I ever received in my
life. If you want to know what a baby I am, I lay down and cried
because I was so happy.

Now that I am sure you read my letters, I’ll make them much more
interesting, so they’ll be worth keeping in a safe with red tape
around them--only please take out that dreadful one and burn it up.
I’d hate to think that you ever read it over.

Thank you for making a very sick, cross, miserable Freshman
cheerful. Probably you have lots of loving family and friends,
and you don’t know what it feels like to be alone. But I do.

Good-by--I’ll promise never to be horrid again, because now I know
you’re a real person; also I’ll promise never to bother you with
any more questions.

Do you still hate girls?

  Yours forever,


  8th hour, Monday.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I hope you aren’t the Trustee who sat on the toad? It went off--I
was told--with quite a pop, so probably he was a fatter Trustee.

Do you remember the little dugout places with gratings over them by
the laundry windows in the John Grier Home? Every spring when the
hoptoad season opened we used to form a collection of toads and keep
them in those window holes; and occasionally they would spill over
into the laundry, causing a very pleasurable commotion on wash days.
We were severely punished for our activities in this direction, but
in spite of all discouragement the toads would collect.

And one day--well, I won’t bore you with particulars--but somehow,
one of the fattest, biggest, _juiciest_ toads got into one of those
big leather arm chairs in the Trustees’ room, and that afternoon at
the Trustees’ meeting-- But I dare say you were there and recall the

Looking back dispassionately after a period of time, I will say that
punishment was merited, and--if I remember rightly--adequate.

I don’t know why I am in such a reminiscent mood except that spring
and the reappearance of toads always awakens the old acquisitive
instinct. The only thing that keeps me from starting a collection is
the fact that no rule exists against it.

  After chapel, Thursday.

What do you think is my favorite book? Just now, I mean; I change
every three days. “Wuthering Heights.” Emily Bronté was quite young
when she wrote it, and had never been outside of Haworth churchyard.
She had never known any men in her life; how _could_ she imagine a
man like Heathcliffe?

I couldn’t do it, and I’m quite young and never outside the John
Grier Asylum--I’ve had every chance in the world. Sometimes a
dreadful fear comes over me that I’m not a genius. Will you be
awfully disappointed, Daddy, if I don’t turn out to be a great
author? In the spring when everything is so beautiful and green and
budding, I feel like turning my back on lessons, and running away to
play with the weather. There are such lots of adventures out in the
fields! It’s much more entertaining to live books than to write

Ow ! ! ! ! ! !

That was a shriek which brought Sallie and Julia and (for a
disgusted moment) the Senior from across the hall. It was caused by
a centipede like this:


only worse. Just as I had finished the last sentence and was
thinking what to say next--plump!--it fell off the ceiling and
landed at my side. I tipped two cups off the tea table in trying to
get away. Sallie whacked it with the back of my hair brush--which I
shall never be able to use again--and killed the front end, but the
rear fifty feet ran under the bureau and escaped.

This dormitory, owing to its age and ivy-covered walls, is full of
centipedes. They are dreadful creatures. I’d rather find a tiger
under the bed.

  Friday, 9.30 P. M.

Such a lot of troubles! I didn’t hear the rising bell this morning,
then I broke my shoe-string while I was hurrying to dress and
dropped my collar button down my neck. I was late for breakfast and
also for first-hour recitation. I forgot to take any blotting paper
and my fountain pen leaked. In trigonometry the Professor and I had
a disagreement touching a little matter of logarithms. On looking it
up, I find that she was right. We had mutton stew and pie-plant for
lunch--hate ’em both; they taste like the asylum. Nothing but bills
in my mail (though I must say that I never do get anything else; my
family are not the kind that write). In English class this afternoon
we had an unexpected written lesson. This was it:

  I asked no other thing,
  No other was denied.
  I offered Being for it;
  The mighty merchant smiled.

  Brazil? He twirled a button
  Without a glance my way:
  But, madam, is there nothing else
  That we can show to-day?

That is a poem. I don’t know who wrote it or what it means. It was
simply printed out on the blackboard when we arrived and we were
ordered to comment upon it. When I read the first verse I thought I
had an idea--The Mighty Merchant was a divinity who distributes
blessings in return for virtuous deeds--but when I got to the second
verse and found him twirling a button, it seemed a blasphemous
supposition, and I hastily changed my mind. The rest of the class
was in the same predicament; and there we sat for three quarters of
an hour with blank paper and equally blank minds. Getting an
education is an awfully wearing process!

But this didn’t end the day. There’s worse to come.

It rained so we couldn’t play golf, but had to go to gymnasium
instead. The girl next to me banged my elbow with an Indian club.
I got home to find that the box with my new blue spring dress had
come, and the skirt was so tight that I couldn’t sit down. Friday
is sweeping day, and the maid had mixed all the papers on my desk.
We had tombstone for dessert (milk and gelatin flavored with
vanilla). We were kept in chapel twenty minutes later than usual to
listen to a speech about womanly women. And then--just as I was
settling down with a sigh of well-earned relief to “The Portrait
of a Lady,” a girl named Ackerly, a dough-faced, deadly,
unintermittently stupid girl, who sits next to me in Latin because
her name begins with A (I wish Mrs. Lippett had named me Zabriski),
came to ask if Monday’s lesson commenced at paragraph 69 or 70, and
stayed ONE HOUR. She has just gone.

Did you ever hear of such a discouraging series of events? It isn’t
the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to
a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the
petty hazards of the day with a laugh--I really think that requires

It’s the kind of character that I am going to develop. I am going
to pretend that all life is just a game which I must play as
skilfully and fairly as I can. If I lose, I am going to shrug my
shoulders and laugh--also if I win.

Anyway, I am going to be a sport. You will never hear me complain
again, Daddy dear, because Julia wears silk stockings and centipedes
drop off the wall.

  Yours ever,


Answer soon.

  May 27th.

  _Daddy-Long-Legs, Esq._

DEAR SIR: I am in receipt of a letter from Mrs. Lippett. She hopes
that I am doing well in deportment and studies. Since I probably
have no place to go this summer, she will let me come back to the
asylum and work for my board until college opens.


I’d rather die than go back.

  Yours most truthfully,


  _Cher Daddy-Jambes-Longes_,

_Vous etes un ^brick!^_

_Je suis tres heureuse ^about the farm^, parsque je n’ai jamais
^been on a farm^ dans ma vie ^and I’d hate to^ retourner chez ^John
Grier^, et ^wash dishes^ tout l’été. ^There would be danger of^
quelque chose affreuse ^happening^, parsque j’ai perdue ma humilité
d’autre fois et j’ai peur ^that I would just break out^ quelque jour
et ^smash every cup and saucer^ dans la maison._

_Pardon brièveté et ^paper^. Je ne peux pas ^send^ des mes nouvelles
parseque je suis dans ^French class^ et j’ai peur que Monsieur le
Professeur ^is going to call on me^ tout de suite._

He did!

  _Au revoir,_

  _Je vous aime beaucoup._


  May 30th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Did you ever see this campus? (That is merely a rhetorical question.
Don’t let it annoy you.) It is a heavenly spot in May. All the
shrubs are in blossom and the trees are the loveliest young
green--even the old pines look fresh and new. The grass is dotted
with yellow dandelions and hundreds of girls in blue and white and
pink dresses. Everybody is joyous and care-free, for vacation’s
coming, and with that to look forward to, examinations don’t count.

Isn’t that a happy frame of mind to be in? And oh, Daddy! I’m the
happiest of all! Because I’m not in the asylum any more; and I’m
not anybody’s nurse-maid or typewriter or bookkeeper (I should have
been, you know, except for you).

I’m sorry now for all my past badnesses.

I’m sorry I was ever impertinent to Mrs. Lippett.

I’m sorry I ever slapped Freddie Perkins.

I’m sorry I ever filled the sugar bowl with salt.

I’m sorry I ever made faces behind the Trustees’ backs.

I’m going to be good and sweet and kind to everybody because I’m
so happy. And this summer I’m going to write and write and write
and begin to be a great author. Isn’t that an exalted stand to
take? Oh, I’m developing a beautiful character! It droops a bit
under cold and frost, but it does grow fast when the sun shines.

That’s the way with everybody. I don’t agree with the theory that
adversity and sorrow and disappointment develop moral strength. The
happy people are the ones who are bubbling over with kindliness.
I have no faith in misanthropes. (Fine word! Just learned it.) You
are not a misanthrope are you, Daddy?

I started to tell you about the campus. I wish you’d come for a
little visit and let me walk you about and say:

“That is the library. This is the gas plant, Daddy dear. The Gothic
building on your left is the gymnasium, and the Tudor Romanesque
beside it is the new infirmary.”

Oh, I’m fine at showing people about. I’ve done it all my life at
the asylum, and I’ve been doing it all day here. I have honestly.

And a Man, too!

That’s a great experience. I never talked to a man before (except
occasional Trustees, and they don’t count). Pardon, Daddy. I don’t
mean to hurt your feelings when I abuse Trustees. I don’t consider
that you really belong among them. You just tumbled onto the Board
by chance. The Trustee, as such, is fat and pompous and benevolent.
He pats one on the head and wears a gold watch chain.


That looks like a June bug, but is meant to be a portrait of any
Trustee except you.

However--to resume:

I have been walking and talking and having tea with a man. And with
a very superior man--with Mr. Jervis Pendleton of the House of
Julia; her uncle, in short (in long, perhaps I ought to say; he’s
as tall as you). Being in town on business, he decided to run out to
the college and call on his niece. He’s her father’s youngest
brother, but she doesn’t know him very intimately. It seems he
glanced at her when she was a baby, decided he didn’t like her,
and has never noticed her since.

Anyway, there he was, sitting in the reception room very proper with
his hat and stick and gloves beside him; and Julia and Sallie with
seventh-hour recitations that they couldn’t cut. So Julia dashed
into my room and begged me to walk him about the campus and then
deliver him to her when the seventh hour was over. I said I would,
obligingly but unenthusiastically, because I don’t care much for

But he turned out to be a sweet lamb. He’s a real human being--not
a Pendleton at all. We had a beautiful time; I’ve longed for an
uncle ever since. Do you mind pretending you’re my uncle? I believe
they’re superior to grandmothers.

Mr. Pendleton reminded me a little of you, Daddy, as you were twenty
years ago. You see I know you intimately, even if we haven’t ever

He’s tall and thinnish with a dark face all over lines, and the
funniest underneath smile that never quite comes through but just
wrinkles up the corners of his mouth. And he has a way of making you
feel right off as though you’d known him a long time. He’s very

We walked all over the campus from the quadrangle to the athletic
grounds; then he said he felt weak and must have some tea. He
proposed that we go to College Inn--it’s just off the campus by the
pine walk. I said we ought to go back for Julia and Sallie, but he
said he didn’t like to have his nieces drink too much tea; it made
them nervous. So we just ran away and had tea and muffins and
marmalade and ice-cream and cake at a nice little table out on the
balcony. The inn was quite conveniently empty, this being the end of
the month and allowances low.

We had the jolliest time! But he had to run for his train the minute
he got back and he barely saw Julia at all. She was furious with me
for taking him off; it seems he’s an unusually rich and desirable
uncle. It relieved my mind to find he was rich, for the tea and
things cost sixty cents apiece.

This morning (it’s Monday now) three boxes of chocolates came by
express for Julia and Sallie and me. What do you think of that? To
be getting candy from a man!

I begin to feel like a girl instead of a foundling.

I wish you’d come and take tea some day and let me see if I like
you. But wouldn’t it be dreadful if I didn’t? However, I know I

_Bien!_ I make you my compliments.

  “_Jamais je ne t’oublierai._”


P. S. I looked in the glass this morning and found a perfectly new
dimple that I’d never seen before. It’s very curious. Where do you
suppose it came from?

  June 9th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Happy day! I’ve just finished my last examination--Physiology.
And now:

Three months on a farm!

I don’t know what kind of a thing a farm is. I’ve never been on one
in my life. I’ve never even looked at one (except from the car
window), but I know I’m going to love it, and I’m going to love
being _free_.

I am not used even yet to being outside the John Grier Home.
Whenever I think of it excited little thrills chase up and down my
back. I feel as though I must run faster and faster and keep looking
over my shoulder to make sure that Mrs. Lippett isn’t after me with
her arm stretched out to grab me back.

I don’t have to mind any one this summer, do I?

Your nominal authority doesn’t annoy me in the least; you are too
far away to do any harm. Mrs. Lippett is dead forever, so far as I
am concerned, and the Semples aren’t expected to overlook my moral
welfare, are they? No, I am sure not. I am entirely grown up.

I leave you now to pack a trunk, and three boxes of teakettles and
dishes and sofa cushions and books.

  Yours ever,


P. S. Here is my physiology exam. Do you think you could have


  Saturday night.

  _Dearest Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I’ve only just come and I’m not unpacked, but I can’t wait to tell
you how much I like farms. This is a heavenly, heavenly, _heavenly_
spot! The house is square like this:


And _old_. A hundred years or so. It has a veranda on the side which
I can’t draw and a sweet porch in front. The picture really doesn’t
do it justice--those things that look like feather dusters are maple
trees, and the prickly ones that border the drive are murmuring
pines and hemlocks. It stands on the top of a hill and looks way off
over miles of green meadows to another line of hills.


That is the way Connecticut goes, in a series of Marcelle waves; and
Lock Willow Farm is just on the crest of one wave. The barns used to
be across the road where they obstructed the view, but a kind flash
of lightning came from heaven and burnt them down.

The people are Mr. and Mrs. Semple and a hired girl and two hired
men. The hired people eat in the kitchen, and the Semples and Judy
in the dining-room. We had ham and eggs and biscuits and honey and
jelly-cake and pie and pickles and cheese and tea for supper--and a
great deal of conversation. I have never been so entertaining in my
life; everything I say appears to be funny. I suppose it is, because
I’ve never been in the country before, and my questions are backed
by an all-inclusive ignorance.

The room marked with a cross is not where the murder was committed,
but the one that I occupy. It’s big and square and empty, with
adorable old-fashioned furniture and windows that have to be propped
up on sticks and green shades trimmed with gold that fall down if
you touch them. And a big square mahogany table--I’m going to spend
the summer with my elbows spread out on it, writing a novel.

Oh, Daddy, I’m so excited! I can’t wait till daylight to explore.
It’s 8.30 now, and I am about to blow out my candle and try to go
to sleep. We rise at five. Did you ever know such fun? I can’t
believe this is really Judy. You and the Good Lord give me more than
I deserve. I must be a very, very, _very_ good person to pay. I’m
going to be. You’ll see.

  Good night,


P. S. You should hear the frogs sing and the little pigs squeal--and
you should see the new moon! I saw it over my right shoulder.


  July 12th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

How did your secretary come to know about Lock Willow? (That isn’t
a rhetorical question. I am awfully curious to know.) For listen to
this: Mr. Jervis Pendleton used to own this farm, but now he has
given it to Mrs. Semple who was his old nurse. Did you ever hear of
such a funny coincidence? She still calls him “Master Jervie” and
talks about what a sweet little boy he used to be. She has one of
his baby curls put away in a box, and it’s red--or at least

Since she discovered that I know him, I have risen very much in her
opinion. Knowing a member of the Pendleton family is the best
introduction one can have at Lock Willow. And the cream of the whole
family is Master Jervie--I am pleased to say that Julia belongs to
an inferior branch.

The farm gets more and more entertaining. I rode on a hay wagon
yesterday. We have three big pigs and nine little piglets, and you
should see them eat. They _are_ pigs! We’ve oceans of little baby
chickens and ducks and turkeys and guinea fowls. You must be mad to
live in a city when you might live on a farm.

It is my daily business to hunt the eggs. I fell off a beam in the
barn loft yesterday, while I was trying to crawl over to a nest that
the black hen has stolen. And when I came in with a scratched knee,
Mrs. Semple bound it up with witch-hazel, murmuring all the time,
“Dear! Dear! It seems only yesterday that Master Jervie fell off
that very same beam and scratched this very same knee.”

The scenery around here is perfectly beautiful. There’s a valley
and a river and a lot of wooded hills, and way in the distance,
a tall blue mountain that simply melts in your mouth.

We churn twice a week; and we keep the cream in the spring house
which is made of stone with the brook running underneath. Some of
the farmers around here have a separator, but we don’t care for
these new-fashioned ideas. It may be a little harder to take care of
cream raised in pans, but it’s enough better to pay. We have six
calves; and I’ve chosen the names for all of them.

1. Sylvia, because she was born in the woods.

2. Lesbia, after the Lesbia in Catullus.

3. Sallie.

4. Julia--a spotted, nondescript animal.

5. Judy, after me.

6. Daddy-Long-Legs. You don’t mind, do you, Daddy? He’s pure Jersey
and has a sweet disposition. He looks like this--you can see how
appropriate the name is.


I haven’t had time yet to begin my immortal novel; the farm keeps
me too busy.

  Yours always,


P. S. I’ve learned to make doughnuts.

P. S. (2) If you are thinking of raising chickens, let me recommend
Buff Orpingtons. They haven’t any pin feathers.

P. S. (3) I wish I could send you a pat of the nice, fresh butter I
churned yesterday. I’m a fine dairy-maid!

P. S. (4) This is a picture of Miss Jerusha Abbott, the future great
author, driving home the cows.

  [Illustration: “Buttercup Daisy Birdie Bess Spotty
  (I can’t draw cows!)”]


  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Isn’t it funny? I started to write to you yesterday afternoon, but
as far as I got was the heading, “Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,” and then I
remembered I’d promised to pick some blackberries for supper, so I
went off and left the sheet lying on the table, and when I came back
to-day, what do you think I found sitting in the middle of the page?
A real true Daddy-Long-Legs!


I picked him up very gently by one leg, and dropped him out of the
window. I wouldn’t hurt one of them for the world. They always
remind me of you.

We hitched up the spring wagon this morning and drove to the Center
to church. It’s a sweet little white frame church with a spire and
three Doric columns in front (or maybe Ionic--I always get them

A nice, sleepy sermon with everybody drowsily waving palm-leaf fans,
and the only sound aside from the minister, the buzzing of locusts
in the trees outside. I didn’t wake up till I found myself on my
feet singing the hymn, and then I was awfully sorry I hadn’t
listened to the sermon; I should like to know more of the psychology
of a man who would pick out such a hymn. This was it:

  Come, leave your sports and earthly toys
  And join me in celestial joys.
  Or else, dear friend, a long farewell.
  I leave you now to sink to hell.

I find that it isn’t safe to discuss religion with the Semples.
Their God (whom they have inherited intact from their remote Puritan
ancestors) is a narrow, irrational, unjust, mean, revengeful,
bigoted Person. Thank heaven I don’t inherit any God from anybody!
I am free to make mine up as I wish Him. He’s kind and sympathetic
and imaginative and forgiving and understanding--and He has a sense
of humor.

I like the Semples immensely; their practice is so superior to their
theory. They are better than their own God. I told them so--and they
are horribly troubled. They think I am blasphemous--and I think they
are! We’ve dropped theology from our conversation.

This is Sunday afternoon.

Amasai (hired man) in a purple tie and some bright yellow buckskin
gloves, very red and shaved, has just driven off with Carrie (hired
girl) in a big hat trimmed with red roses and a blue muslin dress
and her hair curled as tight as it will curl. Amasai spent all the
morning washing the buggy; and Carrie stayed home from church
ostensibly to cook the dinner, but really to iron the muslin dress.

In two minutes more when this letter is finished I am going to
settle down to a book which I found in the attic. It’s entitled,
“On the Trail,” and sprawled across the front page in a funny
little-boy hand:

          Jervis Pendleton
  If this book should ever roam,
  Box its ears and send it home.

He spent the summer here once after he had been ill, when he was
about eleven years old; and he left “On the Trail” behind. It looks
well read--the marks of his grimy little hands are frequent! Also in
a corner of the attic there is a water wheel and a windmill and some
bows and arrows. Mrs. Semple talks so constantly about him that I
begin to believe he really lives--not a grown man with a silk hat
and walking stick, but a nice, dirty, tousle-headed boy who clatters
up the stairs with an awful racket, and leaves the screen doors
open, and is always asking for cookies. (And getting them, too, if I
know Mrs. Semple!) He seems to have been an adventurous little
soul--and brave and truthful. I’m sorry to think he is a Pendleton;
he was meant for something better.

We’re going to begin threshing oats to-morrow; a steam engine is
coming and three extra men.

It grieves me to tell you that Buttercup (the spotted cow with one
horn, Mother of Lesbia) has done a disgraceful thing. She got into
the orchard Friday evening and ate apples under the trees, and ate
and ate until they went to her head. For two days she has been
perfectly dead drunk! That is the truth I am telling. Did you ever
hear anything so scandalous?


  I remain,

  Your affectionate orphan,


P. S. Indians in the first chapter and highwaymen in the second.
I hold my breath. What _can_ the third contain? “Red Hawk leapt
twenty feet in the air and bit the dust.” That is the subject of the
frontispiece. Aren’t Judy and Jervie having fun?

  September 15th.

  _Dear Daddy_,

I was weighed yesterday on the flour scales in the general store at
the Corners. I’ve gained nine pounds! Let me recommend Lock Willow
as a health resort.

  Yours ever,



  September 25th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Behold me--a Sophomore! I came up last Friday, sorry to leave Lock
Willow, but glad to see the campus again. It _is_ a pleasant
sensation to come back to something familiar. I am beginning to feel
at home in college, and in command of the situation; I am beginning,
in fact, to feel at home in the world--as though I really belonged
in it and had not just crept in on sufferance.

I don’t suppose you understand in the least what I am trying to say.
A person important enough to be a Trustee can’t appreciate the
feelings of a person unimportant enough to be a foundling.

And now, Daddy, listen to this. Whom do you think I am rooming with?
Sallie McBride and Julia Rutledge Pendleton. It’s the truth. We
have a study and three little bedrooms--_voila!_


Sallie and I decided last spring that we should like to room
together, and Julia made up her mind to stay with Sallie--why,
I can’t imagine, for they are not a bit alike; but the Pendletons
are naturally conservative and inimical (fine word!) to change.
Anyway, here we are. Think of Jerusha Abbott, late of the John Grier
Home for Orphans, rooming with a Pendleton. This is a democratic

Sallie is running for class president, and unless all signs fail,
she is going to be elected. Such an atmosphere of intrigue--you
should see what politicians we are! Oh, I tell you, Daddy, when we
women get our rights, you men will have to look alive in order to
keep yours. Election comes next Saturday, and we’re going to have a
torchlight procession in the evening, no matter who wins.

I am beginning chemistry, a most unusual study. I’ve never seen
anything like it before. Molecules and Atoms are the material
employed, but I’ll be in a position to discuss them more definitely
next month.

I am also taking argumentation and logic.

Also history of the whole world.

Also plays of William Shakespeare.

Also French.

If this keeps up many years longer, I shall become quite

I should rather have elected economics than French, but I didn’t
dare, because I was afraid that unless I reëlected French, the
Professor would not let me pass--as it was, I just managed to
squeeze through the June examination. But I will say that my
high-school preparation was not very adequate.

There’s one girl in the class who chatters away in French as fast
as she does in English. She went abroad with her parents when she
was a child, and spent three years in a convent school. You can
imagine how bright she is compared with the rest of us--irregular
verbs are mere playthings. I wish my parents had chucked me into a
French convent when I was little instead of a foundling asylum. Oh,
no, I don’t either! Because then maybe I should never have known
you. I’d rather know you than French.

Good-by, Daddy. I must call on Harriet Martin now, and, having
discussed the chemical situation, casually drop a few thoughts on
the subject of our next president.

  Yours in politics,

    J. ABBOTT.

  October 17th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Supposing the swimming tank in the gymnasium were filled full of
lemon jelly, could a person trying to swim manage to keep on top or
would he sink?

We were having lemon jelly for dessert when the question came up.
We discussed it heatedly for half an hour and it’s still unsettled.
Sallie thinks that she could swim in it, but I am perfectly sure
that the best swimmer in the world would sink. Wouldn’t it be funny
to be drowned in lemon jelly?

Two other problems are engaging the attention of our table.

1st. What shape are the rooms in an octagon house? Some of the girls
insist that they’re square; but I think they’d have to be shaped
like a piece of pie. Don’t you?

2d. Suppose there were a great big hollow sphere made of
looking-glass and you were sitting inside. Where would it stop
reflecting your face and begin reflecting your back? The more one
thinks about this problem, the more puzzling it becomes. You can see
with what deep philosophical reflection we engage our leisure!

Did I ever tell you about the election? It happened three weeks ago,
but so fast do we live, that three weeks is ancient history. Sallie
was elected, and we had a torchlight parade with transparencies
saying, “McBride Forever,” and a band consisting of fourteen pieces
(three mouth organs and eleven combs).

We’re very important persons now in “258.” Julia and I come in for
a great deal of reflected glory. It’s quite a social strain to be
living in the same house with a president.

  _Bonne nuit, cher ^Daddy^._

  _Acceptez mes compliments,
  Très respectueux.
  Je suis,
  Votre JUDY._

  [Illustration: “McBRIDE FOREVER”]

  November 12th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

We beat the Freshmen at basket ball yesterday. Of course we’re
pleased--but oh, if we could only beat the Juniors! I’d be willing
to be black and blue all over and stay in bed a week in a
witch-hazel compress.

Sallie has invited me to spend the Christmas vacation with her. She
lives in Worcester, Massachusetts. Wasn’t it nice of her? I shall
love to go. I’ve never been in a private family in my life, except
at Lock Willow, and the Semples were grown-up and old and don’t
count. But the McBrides have a houseful of children (anyway two or
three) and a mother and father and grandmother, and an Angora cat.
It’s a perfectly complete family! Packing your trunk and going away
_is_ more fun than staying behind. I am terribly excited at the

Seventh hour--I must run to rehearsal. I’m to be in the
Thanksgiving theatricals. A prince in a tower with a velvet tunic
and yellow curls. Isn’t that a lark?


    J. A.


Do you want to know what I look like? Here’s a photograph of all
three that Leonora Fenton took.

The light one who is laughing is Sallie, and the tall one with her
nose in the air is Julia, and the little one with the hair blowing
across her face is Judy--she is really more beautiful than that, but
the sun was in her eyes.


  December 31st.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I meant to write to you before and thank you for your Christmas
check, but life in the McBride household is very absorbing, and I
don’t seem able to find two consecutive minutes to spend at a desk.

I bought a new gown--one that I didn’t need, but just wanted. My
Christmas present this year is from Daddy-Long-Legs; my family just
sent love.

I’ve been having the most beautiful vacation visiting Sallie. She
lives in a big old-fashioned brick house with white trimmings set
back from the street--exactly the kind of house that I used to look
at so curiously when I was in the John Grier Home, and wonder what
it could be like inside. I never expected to see with my own
eyes--but here I am! Everything is so comfortable and restful and
homelike; I walk from room to room and drink in the furnishings.

It is the most perfect house for children to be brought up in; with
shadowy nooks for hide and seek, and open fireplaces for pop-corn,
and an attic to romp in on rainy days, and slippery banisters with a
comfortable flat knob at the bottom, and a great big sunny kitchen,
and a nice fat, sunny cook who has lived in the family thirteen
years and always saves out a piece of dough for the children to
bake. Just the sight of such a house makes you want to be a child
all over again.

And as for families! I never dreamed they could be so nice. Sallie
has a father and mother and grandmother, and the sweetest
three-year-old baby sister all over curls, and a medium-sized
brother who always forgets to wipe his feet, and a big, good-looking
brother named Jimmie, who is a junior at Princeton.

We have the jolliest times at the table--everybody laughs and jokes
and talks at once, and we don’t have to say grace beforehand. It’s
a relief not having to thank Somebody for every mouthful you eat.
(I dare say I’m blasphemous; but you’d be, too, if you’d offered
as much obligatory thanks as I have.)

Such a lot of things we’ve done--I can’t begin to tell you about
them. Mr. McBride owns a factory, and Christmas eve he had a tree
for the employees’ children. It was in the long packing-room which
was decorated with evergreens and holly. Jimmie McBride was dressed
as Santa Claus, and Sallie and I helped him distribute the presents.

Dear me, Daddy, but it was a funny sensation! I felt as benevolent
as a Trustee of the John Grier Home. I kissed one sweet, sticky
little boy--but I don’t think I patted any of them on the head!

And two days after Christmas, they gave a dance at their own house
for ME.

It was the first really true ball I ever attended--college doesn’t
count where we dance with girls. I had a new white evening gown
(your Christmas present--many thanks) and long white gloves and
white satin slippers. The only drawback to my perfect, utter,
absolute happiness was the fact that Mrs. Lippett couldn’t see me
leading the cotillion with Jimmie McBride. Tell her about it,
please, the next time you visit the J. G. H.

  Yours ever,


P. S. Would you be terribly displeased, Daddy, if I didn’t turn out
to be a Great Author after all, but just a Plain Girl?

  6.30, Saturday.

  _Dear Daddy_,

We started to walk to town to-day, but mercy! how it poured. I like
winter to be winter with snow instead of rain.

Julia’s desirable uncle called again this afternoon--and brought a
five-pound box of chocolates. There are advantages you see about
rooming with Julia.

Our innocent prattle appeared to amuse him and he waited over a
train in order to take tea in the study. And an awful lot of trouble
we had getting permission. It’s hard enough entertaining fathers
and grandfathers, but uncles are a step worse; and as for brothers
and cousins, they are next to impossible. Julia had to swear that he
was her uncle before a notary public and then have the county
clerk’s certificate attached. (Don’t I know a lot of law?) And even
then I doubt if we could have had our tea if the Dean had chanced to
see how youngish and good-looking Uncle Jervis is.

Anyway, we had it, with brown bread Swiss cheese sandwiches. He
helped make them and then ate four. I told him that I had spent last
summer at Lock Willow, and we had a beautiful gossipy time about the
Semples, and the horses and cows and chickens. All the horses that
he used to know are dead, except Grover, who was a baby colt at the
time of his last visit--and poor Grove now is so old he can just
limp about the pasture.

He asked if they still kept doughnuts in a yellow crock with a blue
plate over it on the bottom shelf of the pantry--and they do! He
wanted to know if there was still a woodchuck’s hole under the pile
of rocks in the night pasture--and there is! Amasai caught a big,
fat, gray one there this summer, the twenty-fifth great-grandson of
the one Master Jervie caught when he was a little boy.

I called him “Master Jervie” to his face, but he didn’t appear to
be insulted. Julia says that she has never seen him so amiable;
he’s usually pretty unapproachable. But Julia hasn’t a bit of
tact; and men, I find, require a great deal. They purr if you rub
them the right way and spit if you don’t. (That isn’t a very
elegant metaphor. I mean it figuratively.)

We’re reading Marie Bashkirtseff’s journal. Isn’t it amazing?
Listen to this: “Last night I was seized by a fit of despair that
found utterance in moans, and that finally drove me to throw the
dining-room clock into the sea.”

It makes me almost hope I’m not a genius; they must be very wearing
to have about--and awfully destructive to the furniture.

Mercy! how it keeps pouring. We shall have to swim to chapel

  Yours ever,



  Jan. 20th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Did you ever have a sweet baby girl who was stolen from the cradle
in infancy?

Maybe I am she! If we were in a novel, that would be the dénouement,
wouldn’t it?

It’s really awfully queer not to know what one is--sort of exciting
and romantic. There are such a lot of possibilities. Maybe I’m not
American; lots of people aren’t. I may be straight descended from
the ancient Romans, or I may be a Viking’s daughter, or I may be the
child of a Russian exile and belong by rights in a Siberian prison,
or maybe I’m a Gipsy--I think perhaps I am. I have a very
_wandering_ spirit, though I haven’t as yet had much chance to
develop it.

Do you know about that one scandalous blot in my career--the time I
ran away from the asylum because they punished me for stealing
cookies? It’s down in the books free for any Trustee to read. But
really, Daddy, what could you expect? When you put a hungry little
nine-year girl in the pantry scouring knives, with the cookie jar at
her elbow, and go off and leave her alone; and then suddenly pop in
again, wouldn’t you expect to find her a bit crumby? And then when
you jerk her by the elbow and box her ears, and make her leave the
table when the pudding comes, and tell all the other children that
it’s because she’s a thief, wouldn’t you expect her to run away?

I only ran four miles. They caught me and brought me back; and every
day for a week I was tied, like a naughty puppy, to a stake in the
back yard while the other children were out at recess.

Oh, dear! There’s the chapel bell, and after chapel I have a
committee meeting. I’m sorry because I meant to write you a _very_
entertaining letter this time.

  _Auf wiedersehen_

  _Cher_ Daddy

  _Pax tibi!_


P. S. There’s one thing I’m perfectly sure of. I’m _not_ a

  February 4th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Jimmie McBride has sent me a Princeton banner as big as one end of
the room; I am very grateful to him for remembering me, but I don’t
know what on earth to do with it. Sallie and Julia won’t let me hang
it up; our room this year is furnished in red, and you can imagine
what an effect we’d have if I added orange and black. But it’s
such nice, warm, thick felt, I hate to waste it. Would it be very
improper to have it made into a bath robe? My old one shrank when it
was washed.

I’ve entirely omitted of late telling you what I am learning,
but though you might not imagine it from my letters, my time is
exclusively occupied with study. It’s a very bewildering matter to
get educated in five branches at once.

  [Illustration: “It’s the early bird that catches the tub.”]

“The test of true scholarship,” says Chemistry Professor, “is a
painstaking passion for detail.”

“Be careful not to keep your eyes glued to detail,” says History
Professor. “Stand far enough away to get a perspective on the

You can see with what nicety we have to trim our sails between
chemistry and history. I like the historical method best. If I say
that William the Conqueror came over in 1492, and Columbus
discovered America in 1100 or 1066 or whenever it was, that’s a
mere detail that the Professor overlooks. It gives a feeling of
security and restfulness to the history recitation, that is entirely
lacking in chemistry.

Sixth-hour bell--I must go to the laboratory and look into a little
matter of acids and salts and alkalis. I’ve burned a hole as big as
a plate in the front of my chemistry apron, with hydrochloric acid.
If the theory worked, I ought to be able to neutralize that hole
with good strong ammonia, oughtn’t I?

Examinations next week, but who’s afraid?

  Yours ever,


  March 5th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

There is a March wind blowing, and the sky is filled with heavy,
black moving clouds. The crows in the pine trees are making such a
clamor! It’s an intoxicating, exhilarating, _calling_ noise. You
want to close your books and be off over the hills to race with the

We had a paper chase last Saturday over five miles of squashy ’cross
country. The fox (composed of three girls and a bushel or so of
confetti) started half an hour before the twenty-seven hunters.
I was one of the twenty-seven; eight dropped by the wayside; we
ended nineteen. The trail led over a hill, through a cornfield, and
into a swamp where we had to leap lightly from hummock to hummock.
Of course half of us went in ankle deep. We kept losing the trail,
and wasted twenty-five minutes over that swamp. Then up a hill
through some woods and in at a barn window! The barn doors were all
locked and the window was up high and pretty small. I don’t call
that fair, do you?

But we didn’t go through; we circumnavigated the barn and picked up
the trail where it issued by way of a low shed roof onto the top of
a fence. The fox thought he had us there, but we fooled him. Then
straight away over two miles of rolling meadow, and awfully hard to
follow, for the confetti was getting sparse. The rule is that it
must be at the most six feet apart, but they were the longest six
feet I ever saw. Finally, after two hours of steady trotting, we
tracked Monsieur Fox into the kitchen of Crystal Spring (that’s a
farm where the girls go in bob sleighs and hay wagons for chicken
and waffle suppers) and we found the three foxes placidly eating
milk and honey and biscuits. They hadn’t thought we would get that
far; they were expecting us to stick in the barn window.

Both sides insist that they won. I think we did, don’t you? Because
we caught them before they got back to the campus. Anyway, all
nineteen of us settled like locusts over the furniture and clamored
for honey. There wasn’t enough to go round, but Mrs. Crystal Spring
(that’s our pet name for her; she’s by rights a Johnson) brought
up a jar of strawberry jam and a can of maple syrup--just made last
week--and three loaves of brown bread.

We didn’t get back to college till half-past six--half an hour late
for dinner--and we went straight in without dressing, and with
perfectly unimpaired appetites! Then we all cut evening chapel,
the state of our boots being enough of an excuse.

I never told you about examinations. I passed everything with the
utmost ease--I know the secret now, and am never going to flunk
again. I shan’t be able to graduate with honors though, because of
that beastly Latin prose and geometry Freshman year. But I don’t
care. Wot’s the hodds so long as you’re ’appy? (That’s a
quotation. I’ve been reading the English classics.)

Speaking of classics, have you ever read “Hamlet”? If you haven’t,
do it right off. It’s _perfectly corking_. I’ve been hearing about
Shakespeare all my life, but I had no idea he really wrote so well;
I always suspected him of going largely on his reputation.

I have a beautiful play that I invented a long time ago when I first
learned to read. I put myself to sleep every night by pretending
I’m the person (the most important person) in the book I’m reading
at the moment.

At present I’m Ophelia--and such a sensible Ophelia! I keep Hamlet
amused all the time, and pet him and scold him and make him wrap up
his throat when he has a cold. I’ve entirely cured him of being
melancholy. The King and Queen are both dead--an accident at sea; no
funeral necessary--so Hamlet and I are ruling in Denmark without any
bother. We have the kingdom working beautifully. He takes care of
the governing, and I look after the charities. I have just founded
some first-class orphan asylums. If you or any of the other Trustees
would like to visit them, I shall be pleased to show you through.
I think you might find a great many helpful suggestions.

  I remain, sir,

  Yours most graciously,


  Queen of Denmark.

  March 24th
  maybe the 25th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I don’t believe I can be going to Heaven--I am getting such a lot of
good things here; it wouldn’t be fair to get them hereafter, too.
Listen to what has happened.

Jerusha Abbott has won the short-story contest (a twenty-five dollar
prize) that the _Monthly_ holds every year. And she a Sophomore!
The contestants are mostly Seniors. When I saw my name posted,
I couldn’t quite believe it was true. Maybe I am going to be an
author after all. I wish Mrs. Lippett hadn’t given me such a silly
name--it sounds like an author-ess, doesn’t it?

Also I have been chosen for the spring dramatics--“As You Like It”
out of doors. I am going to be Celia, own cousin to Rosalind.

And lastly: Julia and Sallie and I are going to New York next Friday
to do some spring shopping and stay all night and go to the theater
the next day with “Master Jervie.” He invited us. Julia is going to
stay at home with her family, but Sallie and I are going to stop at
the Martha Washington Hotel. Did you ever hear of anything so
exciting? I’ve never been in a hotel in my life, nor in a theater;
except once when the Catholic Church had a festival and invited the
orphans, but that wasn’t a real play and it doesn’t count.

And what do you think we’re going to see? “Hamlet.” Think of that!
We studied it for four weeks in Shakespeare class and I know it by

I am so excited over all these prospects that I can scarcely sleep.

Good-by, Daddy.

This is a very entertaining world.

  Yours ever,


P. S. I’ve just looked at the calendar. It’s the 28th.

Another postscript.

I saw a street car conductor to-day with one brown eye and one blue.
Wouldn’t he make a nice villain for a detective story?

  April 7th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Mercy! Isn’t New York big? Worcester is nothing to it. Do you mean
to tell me that you actually live in all that confusion? I don’t
believe that I shall recover for months from the bewildering effect
of two days of it. I can’t begin to tell you all the amazing things
I’ve seen; I suppose you know, though, since you live there

But aren’t the streets entertaining? And the people? And the shops?
I never saw such lovely things as there are in the windows. It makes
you want to devote your life to wearing clothes.

Sallie and Julia and I went shopping together Saturday morning.
Julia went into the very most gorgeous place I ever saw, white and
gold walls and blue carpets and blue silk curtains and gilt chairs.
A perfectly beautiful lady with yellow hair and a long black silk
trailing gown came to meet us with a welcoming smile. I thought we
were paying a social call, and started to shake hands, but it seems
we were only buying hats--at least Julia was. She sat down in front
of a mirror and tried on a dozen, each lovelier than the last, and
bought the two loveliest of all.

I can’t imagine any joy in life greater than sitting down in front
of a mirror and buying any hat you choose without having first to
consider the price! There’s no doubt about it, Daddy; New York
would rapidly undermine this fine, stoical character which the John
Grier Home so patiently built up.

And after we’d finished our shopping, we met Master Jervie at
Sherry’s. I suppose you’ve been in Sherry’s? Picture that, then
picture the dining-room of the John Grier Home with its
oilcloth-covered tables, and white crockery that you _can’t_ break,
and wooden-handled knives and forks; and fancy the way I felt!

I ate my fish with the wrong fork, but the waiter very kindly gave
me another so that nobody noticed.

And after luncheon we went to the theater--it was dazzling,
marvelous, unbelievable--I dream about it every night.

Isn’t Shakespeare wonderful?

“Hamlet” is so much better on the stage than when we analyze it in
class; I appreciated it before, but now, dear me!

I think, if you don’t mind, that I’d rather be an actress than a
writer. Wouldn’t you like me to leave college and go into a
dramatic school? And then I’ll send you a box for all my
performances, and smile at you across the footlights. Only wear a
red rose in your buttonhole, please, so I’ll surely smile at the
right man. It would be an awfully embarrassing mistake if I picked
out the wrong one.

We came back Saturday night and had our dinner in the train, at
little tables with pink lamps and negro waiters. I never heard of
meals being served in trains before, and I inadvertently said so.

“Where on earth were you brought up?” said Julia to me.

“In a village,” said I, meekly to Julia.

“But didn’t you ever travel?” said she to me.

“Not till I came to college, and then it was only a hundred and
sixty miles and we didn’t eat,” said I to her.

She’s getting quite interested in me, because I say such funny
things. I try hard not to, but they do pop out when I’m
surprised--and I’m surprised most of the time. It’s a dizzying
experience, Daddy, to pass eighteen years in the John Grier Home,
and then suddenly to be plunged into the WORLD.

But I’m getting acclimated. I don’t make such awful mistakes as I
did; and I don’t feel uncomfortable any more with the other girls.
I used to squirm whenever people looked at me. I felt as though they
saw right through my sham new clothes to the checked ginghams
underneath. But I’m not letting the ginghams bother me any more.
Sufficient unto yesterday is the evil thereof.

I forgot to tell you about our flowers. Master Jervie gave us each a
big bunch of violets and lilies-of-the-valley. Wasn’t that sweet of
him? I never used to care much for men--judging by Trustees--but
I’m changing my mind.

Eleven pages--this _is_ a letter! Have courage. I’m going to stop.

  Yours always,


  April 10th.

  _Dear Mr. Rich-Man_,

Here’s your check for fifty dollars. Thank you very much, but I do
not feel that I can keep it. My allowance is sufficient to afford
all of the hats that I need. I am sorry that I wrote all that silly
stuff about the millinery shop; it’s just that I had never seen
anything like it before.

However, I wasn’t begging! And I would rather not accept any more
charity than I have to.

  Sincerely yours,


  April 11th.

  _Dearest Daddy_,

Will you please forgive me for the letter I wrote you yesterday?
After I posted it I was sorry, and tried to get it back, but that
beastly mail clerk wouldn’t give it to me.

It’s the middle of the night now; I’ve been awake for hours
thinking what a Worm I am--what a Thousand-legged Worm--and that’s
the worst I can say! I’ve closed the door very softly into the
study so as not to wake Julia and Sallie, and am sitting up in bed
writing to you on paper torn out of my history note-book.

I just wanted to tell you that I am sorry I was so impolite about
your check. I know you meant it kindly, and I think you’re an old
dear to take so much trouble for such a silly thing as a hat.
I ought to have returned it very much more graciously.

But in any case, I had to return it. It’s different with me than
with other girls. They can take things naturally from people. They
have fathers and brothers and aunts and uncles; but I can’t be on
any such relations with any one. I like to pretend that you belong
to me, just to play with the idea, but of course I know you don’t.
I’m alone, really--with my back to the wall fighting the world--and
I get sort of gaspy when I think about it. I put it out of my mind,
and keep on pretending; but don’t you see, Daddy? I can’t accept any
more money than I have to, because some day I shall be wanting to
pay it back, and even as great an author as I intend to be, won’t be
able to face a _perfectly tremendous_ debt.

I’d love pretty hats and things, but I mustn’t mortgage the future
to pay for them.

You’ll forgive me, won’t you, for being so rude? I have an awful
habit of writing impulsively when I first think things, and then
posting the letter beyond recall. But if I sometimes seem
thoughtless and ungrateful, I never mean it. In my heart I thank you
always for the life and freedom and independence that you have given
me. My childhood was just a long, sullen stretch of revolt, and now
I am so happy every moment of the day that I can’t believe it’s
true. I feel like a made-up heroine in a story-book.

It’s a quarter past two. I’m going to tiptoe out to the mail chute
and get this off now. You’ll receive it in the next mail after the
other; so you won’t have a very long time to think bad of me.

  Good night, Daddy,

  I love you always,


  May 4th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Field Day last Saturday. It was a very spectacular occasion. First
we had a parade of all the classes, with everybody dressed in white
linen, the Seniors carrying blue and gold Japanese umbrellas,
and the Juniors white and yellow banners. Our class had crimson
balloons--very fetching, especially as they were always getting
loose and floating off--and the Freshmen wore green tissue-paper
hats with long streamers. Also we had a band in blue uniforms hired
from town. Also about a dozen funny people, like clowns in a circus,
to keep the spectators entertained between events.

Julia was dressed as a fat country man with a linen duster and
whiskers and baggy umbrella. Patsy Moriarty (Patricia, really.
Did you ever hear such a name? Mrs. Lippett couldn’t have done better.)
who is tall and thin was Julia’s wife in an absurd green bonnet over
one ear. Waves of laughter followed them the whole length of the
course. Julia played the part extremely well. I never dreamed that a
Pendleton could display so much comedy spirit--begging Master
Jervie’s pardon; I don’t consider him a true Pendleton though,
any more than I consider you a true Trustee.

Sallie and I weren’t in the parade because we were entered for the
events. And what do you think? We both won! At least in something.
We tried for the running broad jump and lost; but Sallie won the
pole-vaulting (seven feet three inches) and I won the fifty-yard
dash (eight seconds).

I was pretty panting at the end, but it was great fun, with the
whole class waving balloons and cheering and yelling:

  What’s the matter with Judy Abbott?
  She’s all right.
  Who’s all right?
  Judy Ab-bott!

  [Illustration: “Judy Wins the Fifty Yard Dash”]

That, Daddy, is true fame. Then trotting back to the dressing tent
and being rubbed down with alcohol and having a lemon to suck. You
see we’re very professional. It’s a fine thing to win an event for
your class, because the class that wins the most gets the athletic
cup for the year. The Seniors won it this year, with seven events
to their credit. The athletic association gave a dinner in the
gymnasium to all of the winners. We had fried soft-shell crabs, and
chocolate ice-cream molded in the shape of basket balls.

I sat up half of last night reading “Jane Eyre.” Are you old enough,
Daddy, to remember sixty years ago? And if so, did people talk that

The haughty Lady Blanche says to the footman, “Stop your chattering,
knave, and do my bidding.” Mr. Rochester talks about the metal
welkin when he means the sky; and as for the mad woman who laughs
like a hyena and sets fire to bed curtains and tears up wedding
veils and _bites_--it’s melodrama of the purest, but just the same,
you read and read and read. I can’t see how any girl could have
written such a book, especially any girl who was brought up in a
churchyard. There’s something about those Brontés that fascinates
me. Their books, their lives, their spirit. Where did they get it?
When I was reading about little Jane’s troubles in the charity
school, I got so angry that I had to go out and take a walk.
I understood exactly how she felt. Having known Mrs. Lippett,
I could see Mr. Brocklehurst.

Don’t be outraged, Daddy. I am not intimating that the John Grier
Home was like the Lowood Institute. We had plenty to eat and plenty
to wear, sufficient water to wash in, and a furnace in the cellar.
But there was one deadly likeness. Our lives were absolutely
monotonous and uneventful. Nothing nice ever happened, except
ice-cream on Sundays, and even that was regular. In all the eighteen
years I was there I only had one adventure--when the woodshed
burned. We had to get up in the night and dress so as to be ready in
case the house should catch. But it didn’t catch and we went back
to bed.

Everybody likes a few surprises; it’s a perfectly natural human
craving. But I never had one until Mrs. Lippett called me to the
office to tell me that Mr. John Smith was going to send me to
college. And then she broke the news so gradually that it just
barely shocked me.

You know, Daddy, I think that the most necessary quality for any
person to have is imagination. It makes people able to put
themselves in other people’s places. It makes them kind and
sympathetic and understanding. It ought to be cultivated in
children. But the John Grier Home instantly stamped out the
slightest flicker that appeared. Duty was the one quality that was
encouraged. I don’t think children ought to know the meaning of the
word; it’s odious, detestable. They ought to do everything from

Wait until you see the orphan asylum that I am going to be the head
of! It’s my favorite play at night before I go to sleep. I plan it
out to the littlest detail--the meals and clothes and study and
amusements and punishments; for even my superior orphans are
sometimes bad.

But anyway, they are going to be happy. I think that every one, no
matter how many troubles he may have when he grows up, ought to have
a happy childhood to look back upon. And if I ever have any children
of my own, no matter how unhappy I may be, I am not going to let
them have any cares until they grow up.

(There goes the chapel bell--I’ll finish this letter sometime.)


When I came in from laboratory this afternoon, I found a squirrel
sitting on the tea table helping himself to almonds. These are the
kind of callers we entertain now that warm weather has come and the
window stays open--

  [Illustration: “My dear Mrs. Centipede, will you have one lump
  or two?”]

  Saturday morning.

Perhaps you think, last night being Friday, with no classes to-day,
that I passed a nice quiet, readable evening with the set of
Stevenson that I bought with my prize money? But if so, you’ve
never attended a girls’ college, Daddy dear. Six friends dropped in
to make fudge, and one of them dropped the fudge--while it was still
liquid--right in the middle of our best rug. We shall never be able
to clean up the mess.

I haven’t mentioned any lessons of late; but we are still having
them every day. It’s sort of a relief though, to get away from them
and discuss life in the large--rather one-sided discussions that you
and I hold, but that’s your own fault. You are welcome to answer
back any time you choose.

I’ve been writing this letter off and on for three days, and I fear
by now _vous êtes bien_ bored!

  Good-by, nice Mr. Man,


_Mr. Daddy-Long-Legs Smith._

SIR: Having completed the study of argumentation and the science of
dividing a thesis into heads, I have decided to adopt the following
form for letter-writing. It contains all necessary facts, but no
unnecessary verbiage.

  I. We had written examinations this week in:
    A. Chemistry.
    B. History.
  II. A new dormitory is being built.
    A. Its material is:
      (a) red brick.
      (b) gray stone.
    B. Its capacity will be:
      (a) one dean, five instructors.
      (b) two hundred girls.
      (c) one housekeeper, three cooks, twenty waitresses, twenty
  III. We had junket for dessert to-night.
  IV. I am writing a special topic upon the Sources of Shakespeare’s
  V. Lou McMahon slipped and fell this afternoon at basket ball,
    and she:
    A. Dislocated her shoulder.
    B. Bruised her knee.
  VI. I have a new hat trimmed with:
    A. Blue velvet ribbon.
    B. Two blue quills.
    C. Three red pompons.
  VII. It is half-past nine.
  VIII. Good night.


  June 2d.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

You will never guess the nice thing that has happened.

The McBrides have asked me to spend the summer at their camp in the
Adirondacks! They belong to a sort of club on a lovely little lake
in the middle of the woods. The different members have houses made
of logs dotted about among the trees, and they go canoeing on the
lake, and take long walks through trails to other camps, and have
dances once a week in the club house--Jimmie McBride is going to
have a college friend visiting him part of the summer, so you see we
shall have plenty of men to dance with.

Wasn’t it sweet of Mrs. McBride to ask me? It appears that she
liked me when I was there for Christmas.

Please excuse this being short. It isn’t a real letter; it’s just
to let you know that I’m disposed of for the summer.


  In a _very_ contented frame of mind,


  June 5th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Your secretary man has just written to me saying that Mr. Smith
prefers that I should not accept Mrs. McBride’s invitation, but
should return to Lock Willow the same as last summer.

Why, why, _why_, Daddy?

You don’t understand about it. Mrs. McBride does want me, really and
truly. I’m not the least bit of trouble in the house. I’m a help.
They don’t take up many servants, and Sallie and I can do lots of
useful things. It’s a fine chance for me to learn housekeeping.
Every woman ought to understand it, and I only know asylum-keeping.

There aren’t any girls our age at the camp, and Mrs. McBride wants
me for a companion for Sallie. We are planning to do a lot of
reading together. We are going to read all of the books for next
year’s English and sociology. The Professor said it would be a great
help if we would get our reading finished in the summer; and it’s
so much easier to remember it, if we read together and talk it over.

Just to live in the same house with Sallie’s mother is an education.
She’s the most interesting, entertaining, companionable, charming
woman in the world; she knows everything. Think how many summers
I’ve spent with Mrs. Lippett and how I’ll appreciate the contrast.
You needn’t be afraid that I’ll be crowding them, for their house
is made of rubber. When they have a lot of company, they just
sprinkle tents about in the woods and turn the boys outside. It’s
going to be such a nice, healthy summer exercising out of doors
every minute. Jimmie McBride is going to teach me how to ride
horseback and paddle a canoe, and how to shoot and--oh, lots of
things I ought to know. It’s the kind of nice, jolly, care-free
time that I’ve never had; and I think every girl deserves it once
in her life. Of course I’ll do exactly as you say, but please,
_please_ let me go, Daddy. I’ve never wanted anything so much.

This isn’t Jerusha Abbott, the future great author, writing to you.
It’s just Judy--a girl.

  June 9th.

  _Mr. John Smith._

SIR: Yours of the 7th inst. at hand. In compliance with the
instructions received through your secretary, I leave on Friday next
to spend the summer at Lock Willow Farm.

  I hope always to remain,



  August Third.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

It has been nearly two months since I wrote, which wasn’t nice of
me, I know, but I haven’t loved you much this summer--you see I’m
being frank!

You can’t imagine how disappointed I was at having to give up the
McBride’s camp. Of course I know that you’re my guardian, and that
I have to regard your wishes in all matters, but I couldn’t see any
_reason_. It was so distinctly the best thing that could have
happened to me. If I had been Daddy, and you had been Judy, I should
have said, “Bless you, my child, run along and have a good time; see
lots of new people and learn lots of new things; live out of doors,
and get strong and well and rested for a year of hard work.”

But not at all! Just a curt line from your secretary ordering me to
Lock Willow.

It’s the impersonality of your commands that hurts my feelings. It
seems as though, if you felt the tiniest little bit for me the way I
feel for you, you’d sometimes send me a message that you’d written
with your own hand, instead of those beastly typewritten secretary’s
notes. If there were the slightest hint that you cared, I’d do
anything on earth to please you.

I know that I was to write nice, long, detailed letters without ever
expecting any answer. You’re living up to your side of the
bargain--I’m being educated--and I suppose you’re thinking I’m
not living up to mine!

But, Daddy, it is a hard bargain. It is, really. I’m so awfully
lonely. You are the only person I have to care for, and you are so
shadowy. You’re just an imaginary man that I’ve made up--and
probably the real _you_ isn’t a bit like my imaginary _you_. But
you did once, when I was ill in the infirmary, send me a message,
and now, when I am feeling awfully forgotten, I get out your card
and read it over.

I don’t think I am telling you at all what I started to say, which
was this:

Although my feelings are still hurt, for it is very humiliating to
be picked up and moved about by an arbitrary, peremptory,
unreasonable, omnipotent, invisible Providence, still, when a man
has been as kind and generous and thoughtful as you have heretofore
been toward me, I suppose he has a right to be an arbitrary,
peremptory, unreasonable, invisible Providence if he chooses, and
so--I’ll forgive you and be cheerful again. But I still don’t enjoy
getting Sallie’s letters about the good times they are having in

However--we will draw a veil over that and begin again.

I’ve been writing and writing this summer; four short stories
finished and sent to four different magazines. So you see I’m
trying to be an author. I have a workroom fixed in a corner of the
attic where Master Jervie used to have his rainy-day playroom. It’s
in a cool, breezy corner with two dormer windows, and shaded by a
maple tree with a family of red squirrels living in a hole.

I’ll write a nicer letter in a few days and tell you all the farm

We need rain.

  Yours as ever,


  August 10th.

  _Mr. Daddy-Long-Legs_,

SIR: I address you from the second crotch in the willow tree by the
pool in the pasture. There’s a frog croaking underneath, a locust
singing overhead and two little “devil down-heads” darting up and
down the trunk. I’ve been here for an hour; it’s a very
comfortable crotch, especially after being upholstered with two sofa
cushions. I came up with a pen and tablet hoping to write an
immortal short story, but I’ve been having a dreadful time with my
heroine--I _can’t_ make her behave as I want her to behave; so I’ve
abandoned her for the moment, and am writing to you. (Not much
relief though, for I can’t make you behave as I want you to,

If you are in that dreadful New York, I wish I could send you some
of this lovely, breezy, sunshiny outlook. The country is Heaven
after a week of rain.

Speaking of Heaven--do you remember Mr. Kellogg that I told you
about last summer?--the minister of the little white church at the
Corners. Well, the poor old soul is dead--last winter of pneumonia.
I went half-a-dozen times to hear him preach and got very well
acquainted with his theology. He believed to the end, exactly the
same things he started with. It seems to me that a man who can think
straight along for forty-seven years without changing a single idea
ought to be kept in a cabinet as a curiosity. I hope he is enjoying
his harp and golden crown; he was so perfectly sure of finding them!
There’s a new young man, very up and coming, in his place. The
congregation is pretty dubious, especially the faction led by Deacon
Cummings. It looks as though there was going to be an awful split in
the church. We don’t care for innovations in religion in this

During our week of rain I sat up in the attic and had an orgie of
reading--Stevenson, mostly. He himself is more entertaining than any
of the characters in his books; I dare say he made himself into the
kind of hero that would look well in print. Don’t you think it was
perfect of him to spend all the ten thousand dollars his father
left, for a yacht, and go sailing off to the South Seas? He lived up
to his adventurous creed. If my father had left me ten thousand
dollars, I’d do it, too. The thought of Vailima makes me wild.
I want to see the tropics. I want to see the whole world. I am going
to some day--I am, really, Daddy, when I get to be a great author,
or artist, or actress, or playwright--or whatever sort of a great
person I turn out to be. I have a terrible wanderthirst; the very
sight of a map makes me want to put on my hat and take an umbrella
and start. “I shall see before I die the palms and temples of the

  Thursday evening at twilight, sitting on the doorstep.

Very hard to get any news into this letter! Judy is becoming so
philosophical of late, that she wishes to discourse largely of the
world in general, instead of descending to the trivial details of
daily life. But if you _must_ have news, here it is:


Our nine young pigs waded across the brook and ran away last
Tuesday, and only eight came back. We don’t want to accuse any one
unjustly, but we suspect that Widow Dowd has one more than she ought
to have.

Mr. Weaver has painted his barn and his two silos a bright pumpkin
yellow--a very ugly color, but he says it will wear.

The Brewers have company this week; Mrs. Brewer’s sister and two
nieces from Ohio.


One of our Rhode Island Reds only brought off three chicks out of
fifteen eggs. We can’t imagine what was the trouble. Rhode Island
Reds, in my opinion, are a very inferior breed. I prefer Buff

The new clerk in the post-office at Bonnyrigg Four Corners drank
every drop of Jamaica ginger they had in stock--seven dollars’
worth--before he was discovered.

Old Ira Hatch has rheumatism and can’t work any more; he never saved
his money when he was earning good wages, so now he has to live on
the town.

There’s to be an ice-cream social at the schoolhouse next Saturday
evening. Come and bring your families.

I have a new hat that I bought for twenty-five cents at the
post-office. This is my latest portrait, on my way to rake the hay.

It’s getting too dark to see; anyway, the news is all used up.

  Good night,




Good morning! Here _is_ some news! What do you think? You’d never,
never, never guess who’s coming to Lock Willow. A letter to Mrs.
Semple from Mr. Pendleton. He’s motoring through the Berkshires,
and is tired and wants to rest on a nice quiet farm--if he climbs
out at her doorstep some night will she have a room ready for him?
Maybe he’ll stay one week, or maybe two, or maybe three; he’ll see
how restful it is when he gets here.

Such a flutter as we are in! The whole house is being cleaned and
all the curtains washed. I am driving to the Corners this morning to
get some new oilcloth for the entry, and two cans of brown floor
paint for the hall and back stairs. Mrs. Dowd is engaged to come
to-morrow to wash the windows (in the exigency of the moment, we
waive our suspicions in regard to the piglet). You might think, from
this account of our activities, that the house was not already
immaculate; but I assure you it was! Whatever Mrs. Semple’s
limitations, she is a HOUSEKEEPER.

But isn’t it just like a man, Daddy? He doesn’t give the remotest
hint as to whether he will land on the doorstep to-day, or two weeks
from to-day. We shall live in a perpetual breathlessness until he
comes--and if he doesn’t hurry, the cleaning may all have to be
done over again.

  [Illustration: “Old Grove is perfectly safe.”]

There’s Amasai waiting below with the buckboard and Grover. I drive
alone--but if you could see old Grove, you wouldn’t be worried as
to my safety.

With my hand on my heart--farewell.


P. S. Isn’t that a nice ending? I got it out of Stevenson’s


Good morning again! I didn’t get this _enveloped_ yesterday before
the postman came, so I’ll add some more. We have one mail a day at
twelve o’clock. Rural delivery is a blessing to the farmers! Our
postman not only delivers letters, but he runs errands for us in
town, at five cents an errand. Yesterday he brought me some
shoe-strings and a jar of cold cream (I sunburned all the skin off
my nose before I got my new hat) and a blue Windsor tie and a bottle
of blacking all for ten cents. That was an unusual bargain, owing to
the largeness of my order.

Also he tells us what is happening in the Great World. Several
people on the route take daily papers, and he reads them as he jogs
along, and repeats the news to the ones who don’t subscribe. So in
case a war breaks out between the United States and Japan, or the
president is assassinated, or Mr. Rockefeller leaves a million
dollars to the John Grier Home, you needn’t bother to write; I’ll
hear it anyway.

No sign yet of Master Jervie. But you should see how clean our house
is--and with what anxiety we wipe our feet before we step in!

I hope he’ll come soon; I am longing for some one to talk to. Mrs.
Semple, to tell you the truth, gets sort of monotonous. She never
lets ideas interrupt the easy flow of her conversation. It’s a
funny thing about the people here. Their world is just this single
hilltop. They are not a bit universal, if you know what I mean.
It’s exactly the same as at the John Grier Home. Our ideas there
were bounded by the four sides of the iron fence, only I didn’t
mind it so much because I was younger and was so awfully busy. By
the time I’d got all my beds made and my babies’ faces washed and
had gone to school and come home and had washed their faces again
and darned their stockings and mended Freddie Perkins’s trousers
(he tore them every day of his life) and learned my lessons in
between--I was ready to go to bed, and I didn’t notice any lack of
social intercourse. But after two years in a conversational college,
I do miss it; and I shall be glad to see somebody who speaks my

I really believe I’ve finished, Daddy. Nothing else occurs to me at
the moment--I’ll try to write a longer letter next time.

  Yours always,


P. S. The lettuce hasn’t done at all well this year. It was so dry
early in the season.

  August 25th.

Well, Daddy, Master Jervie’s here. And such a nice time as we’re
having! At least I am, and I think he is, too--he has been here ten
days and he doesn’t show any signs of going. The way Mrs. Semple
pampers that man is scandalous. If she indulged him as much when he
was a baby, I don’t know how he ever turned out so well.

He and I eat at a little table set on the side porch, or sometimes
under the trees, or--when it rains or is cold--in the best parlor.
He just picks out the spot he wants to eat in and Carrie trots after
him with the table. Then if it has been an awful nuisance, and she
has had to carry the dishes very far, she finds a dollar under the
sugar bowl.

He is an awfully companionable sort of man, though you would never
believe it to see him casually; he looks at first glance like a true
Pendleton, but he isn’t in the least. He is just as simple and
unaffected and sweet as he can be--that seems a funny way to
describe a man, but it’s true. He’s extremely nice with the
farmers around here; he meets them in a sort of man-to-man fashion
that disarms them immediately. They were very suspicious at first.
They didn’t care for his clothes! And I will say that his clothes
are rather amazing. He wears knickerbockers and pleated jackets and
white flannels and riding clothes with puffed trousers. Whenever he
comes down in anything new, Mrs. Semple, beaming with pride, walks
around and views him from every angle, and urges him to be careful
where he sits down; she is so afraid he will pick up some dust. It
bores him dreadfully. He’s always saying to her:

“Run along, Lizzie, and tend to your work. You can’t boss me any
longer. I’ve grown up.”

It’s awfully funny to think of that great, big, long-legged man
(he’s nearly as long-legged as you, Daddy) ever sitting in Mrs.
Semple’s lap and having his face washed. Particularly funny when you
see her lap! She has two laps now, and three chins. But he says that
once she was thin and wiry and spry and could run faster than he.

Such a lot of adventures we’re having! We’ve explored the country
for miles, and I’ve learned to fish with funny little flies made of
feathers. Also to shoot with a rifle and a revolver. Also to ride
horse-back--there’s an astonishing amount of life in old Grove. We
fed him on oats for three days, and he shied at a calf and almost
ran away with me.



We climbed Sky Hill Monday afternoon. That’s a mountain near here;
not an awfully high mountain, perhaps--no snow on the summit--but at
least you are pretty breathless when you reach the top. The lower
slopes are covered with woods, but the top is just piled rocks and
open moor. We stayed up for the sunset and built a fire and cooked
our supper. Master Jervie did the cooking; he said he knew how
better than me--and he did, too, because he’s used to camping. Then
we came down by moonlight, and, when we reached the wood trail where
it was dark, by the light of an electric bulb that he had in his
pocket. It was such fun! He laughed and joked all the way and talked
about interesting things. He’s read all the books I’ve ever read,
and a lot of others besides. It’s astonishing how many different
things he knows.

We went for a long tramp this morning and got caught in a storm. Our
clothes were drenched before we reached home--but our spirits not
even damp. You should have seen Mrs. Semple’s face when we dripped
into her kitchen.

“Oh, Master Jervie--Miss Judy! You are soaked through. Dear! Dear!
What shall I do? That nice new coat is perfectly ruined.”

She was awfully funny; you would have thought that we were ten years
old, and she a distracted mother. I was afraid for a while that we
weren’t going to get any jam for tea.


I started this letter ages ago, but I haven’t had a second to
finish it.

Isn’t this a nice thought from Stevenson?

  The world is so full of a number of things,
  I am sure we should all be as happy as kings.

It’s true, you know. The world is full of happiness, and plenty to
go round, if you are only willing to take the kind that comes your
way. The whole secret is in being _pliable_. In the country,
especially, there are such a lot of entertaining things. I can walk
over everybody’s land, and look at everybody’s view, and dabble in
everybody’s brook; and enjoy it just as much as though I owned the
land--and with no taxes to pay!

   *   *   *   *   *

It’s Sunday night now, about eleven o’clock, and I am supposed to
be getting some beauty sleep, but I had black coffee for dinner,
so--no beauty sleep for me!

This morning, said Mrs. Semple to Mr. Pendleton, with a very
determined accent:

“We have to leave here at a quarter past ten in order to get to
church by eleven.”

“Very well, Lizzie,” said Master Jervie, “you have the surrey ready,
and if I’m not dressed, just go on without waiting.”

“We’ll wait,” said she.

“As you please,” said he, “only don’t keep the horses standing too

Then while she was dressing, he told Carrie to pack up a lunch, and
he told me to scramble into my walking clothes; and we slipped out
the back way and went fishing.

It discommoded the household dreadfully, because Lock Willow of a
Sunday dines at two. But he ordered dinner at seven--he orders
meals whenever he chooses; you would think the place were a
restaurant--and that kept Carrie and Amasai from going driving. But
he said it was all the better because it wasn’t proper for them to
go driving without a chaperon; and anyway, he wanted the horses
himself to take me driving. Did you ever hear anything so funny?

And poor Mrs. Semple believes that people who go fishing on Sundays,
go afterwards to a sizzling hot hell! She is awfully troubled to
think that she didn’t train him better when he was small and
helpless and she had the chance. Besides--she wished to show him off
in church.

Anyway, we had our fishing (he caught four little ones) and we
cooked them on a camp-fire for lunch. They kept falling off our
spiked sticks into the fire, so they tasted a little ashy, but we
ate them. We got home at four and went driving at five and had
dinner at seven, and at ten I was sent to bed--and here I am,
writing to you.

I am getting a little sleepy though.

  Good night.

Here is a picture of the one fish I caught.



  _Ship ahoy, Cap’n Long-Legs!_

Avast! Belay! Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum. Guess what I’m
reading? Our conversation these past two days has been nautical and
piratical. Isn’t “Treasure Island” fun? Did you ever read it, or
wasn’t it written when you were a boy? Stevenson only got thirty
pounds for the serial rights--I don’t believe it pays to be a great
author. Maybe I’ll teach school.

Excuse me for filling my letters so full of Stevenson; my mind is
very much engaged with him at present. He comprises Lock Willow’s

I’ve been writing this letter for two weeks, and I think it’s
about long enough. Never say, Daddy, that I don’t give details.
I wish you were here, too; we’d all have such a jolly time
together. I like my different friends to know each other. I wanted
to ask Mr. Pendleton if he knew you in New York--I should think he
might; you must move in about the same exalted social circles, and
you are both interested in reforms and things--but I couldn’t, for
I don’t know your real name.

It’s the silliest thing I ever heard of, not to know your name.
Mrs. Lippett warned me that you were eccentric. I should think so!



P. S. On reading this over, I find that it isn’t all Stevenson.
There are one or two glancing references to Master Jervie.

  September 10th.

  _Dear Daddy_,

He has gone, and we are missing him! When you get accustomed to
people or places or ways of living, and then have them suddenly
snatched away, it does leave an awfully empty, gnawing sort of
sensation. I’m finding Mrs. Semple’s conversation pretty unseasoned

College opens in two weeks and I shall be glad to begin work again.
I have worked quite a lot this summer though--six short stories and
seven poems. Those I sent to the magazines all came back with the
most courteous promptitude. But I don’t mind. It’s good practice.
Master Jervie read them--he brought in the mail, so I couldn’t help
his knowing--and he said they were _dreadful_. They showed that I
didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was talking about. (Master
Jervie doesn’t let politeness interfere with truth.) But the last
one I did--just a little sketch laid in college--he said wasn’t
bad; and he had it typewritten, and I sent it to a magazine.
They’ve had it two weeks; maybe they’re thinking it over.

You should see the sky! There’s the queerest orange-colored light
over everything. We’re going to have a storm.

   *   *   *   *   *

It commenced just that moment with drops as big as quarters and all
the shutters banging. I had to run to close windows, while Carrie
flew to the attic with an armful of milk pans to put under the
places where the roof leaks--and then, just as I was resuming my
pen, I remembered that I’d left a cushion and rug and hat and
Matthew Arnold’s poems under a tree in the orchard, so I dashed out
to get them, all quite soaked. The red cover of the poems had run
into the inside; “Dover Beach” in the future will be washed by pink

A storm is awfully disturbing in the country. You are always having
to think of so many things that are out of doors and getting


Daddy! Daddy! What do you think? The postman has just come with two

1st.--My story is accepted. $50.

_Alors!_ I’m an AUTHOR.

2d.--A letter from the college secretary. I’m to have a scholarship
for two years that will cover board and tuition. It was founded by
an alumna for “marked proficiency in English with general excellency
in other lines.” And I’ve won it! I applied for it before I left,
but I didn’t have an idea I’d get it, on account of my Freshman
bad work in math. and Latin. But it seems I’ve made it up. I am
awfully glad, Daddy, because now I won’t be such a burden to you.
The monthly allowance will be all I’ll need, and maybe I can earn
that with writing or tutoring or something.

I’m _crazy_ to go back and begin work.

  Yours ever,


  Author of, “When the Sophomores
    Won the Game.” For sale at all
    news stands, price ten cents.

  September 26th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Back at college again and an upper classman. Our study is better
than ever this year--faces the South with two huge windows--and oh!
so furnished. Julia, with an unlimited allowance, arrived two days
early and was attacked with a fever of settling.

We have new wall paper and Oriental rugs and mahogany chairs--not
painted mahogany which made us sufficiently happy last year, but
real. It’s very gorgeous, but I don’t feel as though I belonged in
it; I’m nervous all the time for fear I’ll get an ink spot in the
wrong place.

And, Daddy, I found your letter waiting for me--pardon--I mean your

Will you kindly convey to me a comprehensible reason why I should
not accept that scholarship? I don’t understand your objection in
the least. But anyway, it won’t do the slightest good for you to
object, for I’ve already accepted it--and I am not going to change!
That sounds a little impertinent, but I don’t mean it so.

I suppose you feel that when you set out to educate me, you’d like
to finish the work, and put a neat period, in the shape of a
diploma, at the end.

But look at it just a second from my point of view. I shall owe my
education to you just as much as though I let you pay for the whole
of it, but I won’t be quite so much indebted. I know that you don’t
want me to return the money, but nevertheless, I am going to want to
do it, if I possibly can; and winning this scholarship makes it so
much easier. I was expecting to spend the rest of my life in paying
my debts, but now I shall only have to spend one-half of the rest of

I hope you understand my position and won’t be cross. The allowance
I shall still most gratefully accept. It requires an allowance to
live up to Julia and her furniture! I wish that she had been reared
to simpler tastes, or else that she were not my room-mate.

This isn’t much of a letter; I meant to have written a lot--but
I’ve been hemming four window curtains and three portières (I’m
glad you can’t see the length of the stitches) and polishing a brass
desk set with tooth powder (very uphill work) and sawing off picture
wire with manicure scissors, and unpacking four boxes of books, and
putting away two trunkfuls of clothes (it doesn’t seem believable
that Jerusha Abbott owns two trunks full of clothes, but she does!)
and welcoming back fifty dear friends in between.

Opening day is a joyous occasion!

Good night, Daddy dear, and don’t be annoyed because your chick is
wanting to scratch for herself. She’s growing up into an awfully
energetic little hen--with a very determined cluck and lots of
beautiful feathers (all due to you).



  September 30th.

  _Dear Daddy_,

Are you still harping on that scholarship? I never knew a man so
obstinate and stubborn and unreasonable, and tenacious, and
bull-doggish, and unable-to-see-other-people’s-points-of-view as

You prefer that I should not be accepting favors from strangers.

Strangers!--And what are you, pray?

Is there any one in the world that I know less? I shouldn’t
recognize you if I met you on the street. Now, you see, if you had
been a sane, sensible person and had written nice, cheering,
fatherly letters to your little Judy, and had come occasionally and
patted her on the head, and had said you were glad she was such a
good girl--Then, perhaps, she wouldn’t have flouted you in your old
age, but would have obeyed your slightest wish like the dutiful
daughter she was meant to be.

Strangers indeed! You live in a glass house, Mr. Smith.

And besides, this isn’t a favor; it’s like a prize--I earned it by
hard work. If nobody had been good enough in English, the committee
wouldn’t have awarded the scholarship; some years they don’t.
Also--But what’s the use of arguing with a man? You belong, Mr.
Smith, to a sex devoid of a sense of logic. To bring a man into
line, there are just two methods: one must either coax or be
disagreeable. I scorn to coax men for what I wish. Therefore, I must
be disagreeable.

I refuse, sir, to give up the scholarship; and if you make any more
fuss, I won’t accept the monthly allowance either, but will wear
myself into a nervous wreck tutoring stupid Freshmen.

That is my ultimatum!

And listen--I have a further thought. Since you are so afraid that
by taking this scholarship, I am depriving some one else of an
education, I know a way out. You can apply the money that you would
have spent for me, toward educating some other little girl from the
John Grier Home. Don’t you think that’s a nice idea? Only, Daddy,
_educate_ the new girl as much as you choose, but please don’t
_like_ her any better than me.

I trust that your secretary won’t be hurt because I pay so little
attention to the suggestions offered in his letter, but I can’t help
it if he is. He’s a spoiled child, Daddy. I’ve meekly given in to
his whims heretofore, but this time I intend to be FIRM.


  With a Mind,

  Completely and Irrevocably and World-without-End Made-up.



  November 9th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I started down town to-day to buy a bottle of shoe blacking and some
collars and the material for a new blouse and a jar of violet cream
and a cake of Castile soap--all very necessary; I couldn’t be happy
another day without them--and when I tried to pay the car fare,
I found that I had left my purse in the pocket of my other coat. So
I had to get out and take the next car, and was late for gymnasium.

It’s a dreadful thing to have no memory and two coats!

Julia Pendleton has invited me to visit her for the Christmas
holidays. How does that strike you, Mr. Smith? Fancy Jerusha Abbott,
of the John Grier Home, sitting at the tables of the rich. I don’t
know why Julia wants me--she seems to be getting quite attached to
me of late. I should, to tell the truth, very much prefer going to
Sallie’s, but Julia asked me first, so if I go anywhere, it must be
to New York instead of to Worcester. I’m rather awed at the
prospect of meeting Pendletons _en masse_, and also I’d have to get
a lot of new clothes--so, Daddy dear, if you write that you would
prefer having me remain quietly at college, I will bow to your
wishes with my usual sweet docility.

I’m engaged at odd moments with the “Life and Letters of Thomas
Huxley”--it makes nice, light reading to pick up between times. Do
you know what an archæopteryx is? It’s a bird. And a stereognathus?
I’m not sure myself but I think it’s a missing link, like a bird
with teeth or a lizard with wings. No, it isn’t either; I’ve just
looked in the book. It’s a mesozoic mammal.

  [Illustration: “This is the only picture extant of a
  He has a head like a snake and ears like a dog and feet like
  a cow and a tail like a lizard and wings like a swan and is
  covered with nice soft fur like a sweet little pussy cat.”]

I’ve elected economics this year--very illuminating subject. When I
finish that I’m going to take Charity and Reform; then, Mr.
Trustee, I’ll know just how an orphan asylum ought to be run. Don’t
you think I’d make an admirable voter if I had my rights? I was
twenty-one last week. This is an awfully wasteful country to throw
away such an honest, educated, conscientious, intelligent citizen as
I would be.

  Yours always,


  December 7th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Thank you for permission to visit Julia--I take it that silence
means consent.

Such a social whirl as we’ve been having! The Founder’s dance came
last week--this was the first year that any of us could attend; only
upper classmen being allowed.

I invited Jimmie McBride, and Sallie invited his room-mate at
Princeton, who visited them last summer at their camp--an awfully
nice man with red hair--and Julia invited a man from New York, not
very exciting, but socially irreproachable. He is connected with the
De la Mater Chichesters. Perhaps that means something to you? It
doesn’t illuminate me to any extent.

However--our guests came Friday afternoon in time for tea in the
senior corridor, and then dashed down to the hotel for dinner. The
hotel was so full that they slept in rows on the billiard tables,
they say. Jimmie McBride says that the next time he is bidden to a
social event in this college, he is going to bring one of their
Adirondack tents and pitch it on the campus.

At seven-thirty they came back for the President’s reception and
dance. Our functions commence early! We had the men’s cards all made
out ahead of time, and after every dance, we’d leave them in groups
under the letter that stood for their names, so that they could be
readily found by their next partners. Jimmie McBride, for example,
would stand patiently under “M” until he was claimed. (At least, he
ought to have stood patiently, but he kept wandering off and getting
mixed with “R’s” and “S’s” and all sorts of letters.) I found him a
very difficult guest; he was sulky because he had only three dances
with me. He said he was bashful about dancing with girls he didn’t

The next morning we had a glee club concert--and who do you think
wrote the funny new song composed for the occasion? It’s the truth.
She did. Oh, I tell you, Daddy, your little foundling is getting to
be quite a prominent person!

Anyway, our gay two days were great fun, and I think the men enjoyed
it. Some of them were awfully perturbed at first at the prospect of
facing one thousand girls; but they got acclimated very quickly. Our
two Princeton men had a beautiful time--at least they politely said
they had, and they’ve invited us to their dance next spring. We’ve
accepted, so please don’t object, Daddy dear.

Julia and Sallie and I all had new dresses. Do you want to hear
about them? Julia’s was cream satin and gold embroidery, and she
wore purple orchids. It was a _dream_ and came from Paris, and cost
a million dollars.

Sallie’s was pale blue trimmed with Persian embroidery, and went
beautifully with red hair. It didn’t cost quite a million, but was
just as effective as Julia’s.

Mine was pale pink crêpe de chine trimmed with écru lace and rose
satin. And I carried crimson roses which J. McB. sent (Sallie having
told him what color to get). And we all had satin slippers and silk
stockings and chiffon scarfs to match.

You must be deeply impressed by these millinery details!

One can’t help thinking, Daddy, what a colorless life a man is
forced to lead, when one reflects that chiffon and Venetian point
and hand embroidery and Irish crochet are to him mere empty words.
Whereas a woman, whether she is interested in babies or microbes or
husbands or poetry or servants or parallelograms or gardens or Plato
or bridge--is fundamentally and always interested in clothes.

It’s the one touch of nature that makes the whole world kin. (That
isn’t original. I got it out of one of Shakespeare’s plays.)

However, to resume. Do you want me to tell you a secret that I’ve
lately discovered? And will you promise not to think me vain? Then

I’m pretty.

I am, really. I’d be an awful idiot not to know it with three
looking-glasses in the room.


P. S. This is one of those wicked anonymous letters you read about
in novels.

  December 20th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I’ve just a moment, because I must attend two classes, pack a trunk
and a suitcase, and catch the four-o’clock train--but I couldn’t go
without sending a word to let you know how much I appreciate my
Christmas box.

I love the furs and the necklace and the liberty scarf and the
gloves and handkerchiefs and books and purse--and most of all I love
you! But Daddy, you have no _business_ to spoil me this way. I’m
only human--and a girl at that. How can I keep my mind sternly fixed
on a studious career, when you deflect me with such worldly

I have strong suspicions now as to which one of the John Grier
Trustees used to give the Christmas tree and the Sunday ice-cream.
He was nameless, but by his works I know him! You deserve to be
happy for all the good things you do.

Good-by, and a very merry Christmas.

  Yours always,


P. S. I am sending a slight token, too. Do you think you would like
her if you knew her?

  January 11th.

I meant to write to you from the city, Daddy, but New York is an
engrossing place.

I had an interesting--and illuminating--time, but I’m glad I don’t
belong in such a family! I should truly rather have the John Grier
Home for a background. Whatever the drawbacks of my bringing up,
there was at least no pretense about it. I know now what people mean
when they say they are weighed down by Things. The material
atmosphere of that house was crushing; I didn’t draw a deep breath
until I was on an express train coming back. All the furniture was
carved and upholstered and gorgeous; the people I met were
beautifully dressed and low-voiced and well-bred, but it’s the
truth, Daddy, I never heard one word of real talk from the time we
arrived until we left. I don’t think an idea ever entered the front

Mrs. Pendleton never thinks of anything but jewels and dressmakers
and social engagements. She did seem a different kind of mother from
Mrs. McBride! If I ever marry and have a family, I’m going to make
them as exactly like the McBrides as I can. Not for all the money in
the world would I ever let any children of mine develop into
Pendletons. Maybe it isn’t polite to criticize people you’ve been
visiting? If it isn’t, please excuse. This is very confidential,
between you and me.

I only saw Master Jervie once when he called at tea time, and
then I didn’t have a chance to speak to him alone. It was sort of
disappointing after our nice time last summer. I don’t think he
cares much for his relatives--and I am sure they don’t care
much for him! Julia’s mother says he’s unbalanced. He’s a
Socialist--except, thank Heaven, he doesn’t let his hair grow and
wear red ties. She can’t imagine where he picked up his queer ideas;
the family have been Church of England for generations. He throws
away his money on every sort of crazy reform, instead of spending it
on such sensible things as yachts and automobiles and polo ponies.
He does buy candy with it though! He sent Julia and me each a box
for Christmas.

You know, I think I’ll be a Socialist, too. You wouldn’t mind,
would you, Daddy? They’re quite different from Anarchists; they
don’t believe in blowing people up. Probably I am one by rights;
I belong to the proletariat. I haven’t determined yet just which
kind I am going to be. I will look into the subject over Sunday,
and declare my principles in my next.

I’ve seen loads of theaters and hotels and beautiful houses. My
mind is a confused jumble of onyx and gilding and mosaic floors and
palms. I’m still pretty breathless but I am glad to get back to
college and my books--I believe that I really am a student; this
atmosphere of academic calm I find more bracing than New York.
College is a very satisfying sort of life; the books and study and
regular classes keep you alive mentally, and then when your mind
gets tired, you have the gymnasium and outdoor athletics, and always
plenty of congenial friends who are thinking about the same
things you are. We spend a whole evening in nothing but
talk--talk--talk--and go to bed with a very uplifted feeling,
as though we had settled permanently some pressing world problems.
And filling in every crevice, there is always such a lot of
nonsense--just silly jokes about the little things that come up--but
very satisfying. We do appreciate our own witticisms!

It isn’t the great big pleasures that count the most; it’s making
a great deal out of the little ones--I’ve discovered the true
secret of happiness, Daddy, and that is to live in the _now_. Not to
be forever regretting the past, or anticipating the future; but to
get the most that you can out of this very instant. It’s like
farming. You can have extensive farming and intensive farming; well,
I am going to have intensive living after this. I’m going to enjoy
every second, and I’m going to _know_ I’m enjoying it while I’m
enjoying it. Most people don’t live; they just race. They are trying
to reach some goal far away on the horizon, and in the heat of the
going they get so breathless and panting that they lose all sight of
the beautiful, tranquil country they are passing through; and then
the first thing they know, they are old and worn out, and it
doesn’t make any difference whether they’ve reached the goal or
not. I’ve decided to sit down by the way and pile up a lot of
little happinesses, even if I never become a Great Author. Did you
ever know such a philosopheress as I am developing into?

  Yours ever,


P. S. It’s raining cats and dogs to-night. Two puppies and a kitten
have just landed on the window-sill.

  _Dear Comrade_,

Hooray! I’m a Fabian.

That’s a Socialist who’s willing to wait. We don’t want the social
revolution to come to-morrow morning; it would be too upsetting. We
want it to come very gradually in the distant future, when we shall
all be prepared and able to sustain the shock.

In the meantime we must be getting ready, by instituting industrial,
educational and orphan asylum reforms.

  Yours, with fraternal love,


  Monday, 3d hour.

  February 11th.

  _Dear D. L. L._,

Don’t be insulted because this is so short. It isn’t a letter;
it’s just a _line_ to say that I’m going to write a letter pretty
soon when examinations are over. It is not only necessary that I
pass, but pass WELL. I have a scholarship to live up to.

  Yours, studying hard,

    J. A.

  March 5th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

President Cuyler made a speech this evening about the modern
generation being flippant and superficial. He says that we are
losing the old ideals of earnest endeavor and true scholarship; and
particularly is this falling-off noticeable in our disrespectful
attitude toward organized authority. We no longer pay a seemly
deference to our superiors.

I came away from chapel very sober.

Am I too familiar, Daddy? Ought I to treat you with more dignity and
aloofness?--Yes, I’m sure I ought. I’ll begin again.

   *   *   *   *   *

_My dear Mr. Smith_,

You will be pleased to hear that I passed successfully my mid-year
examinations, and am now commencing work in the new semester. I am
leaving chemistry--having completed the course in qualitative
analysis--and am entering upon the study of biology. I approach this
subject with some hesitation, as I understand that we dissect
angleworms and frogs.

An extremely interesting and valuable lecture was given in the
chapel last week upon Roman Remains in Southern France. I have never
listened to a more illuminating exposition of the subject.

We are reading Wordsworth’s “Tinturn Abbey” in connection with our
course in English Literature. What an exquisite work it is, and how
adequately it embodies his conception of Pantheism! The Romantic
movement of the early part of the last century, exemplified in the
works of such poets as Shelley, Byron, Keats, and Wordsworth,
appeals to me very much more than the Classical period that preceded
it. Speaking of poetry, have you ever read that charming little
thing of Tennyson’s called “Locksley Hall”?

I am attending gymnasium very regularly of late. A proctor system
has been devised, and failure to comply with the rules causes a
great deal of inconvenience. The gymnasium is equipped with a very
beautiful swimming tank of cement and marble, the gift of a former
graduate. My room-mate, Miss McBride, has given me her bathing-suit
(it shrank so that she can no longer wear it) and I am about to
begin swimming lessons.

We had delicious pink ice-cream for dessert last night. Only
vegetable dyes are used in coloring the food. The college is very
much opposed, both from esthetic and hygienic motives, to the use of
aniline dyes.

The weather of late has been ideal--bright sunshine and clouds
interspersed with a few welcome snow-storms. I and my companions
have enjoyed our walks to and from classes--particularly from.

Trusting, my dear Mr. Smith, that this will find you in your usual
good health,

  I remain,

  Most cordially yours,


  April 24th.

  _Dear Daddy_,

Spring has come again! You should see how lovely the campus is.
I think you might come and look at it for yourself. Master Jervie
dropped in again last Friday--but he chose a most unpropitious time,
for Sallie and Julia and I were just running to catch a train. And
where do you think we were going? To Princeton, to attend a dance
and a ball game, if you please! I didn’t ask you if I might go,
because I had a feeling that your secretary would say no. But it was
entirely regular; we had leave-of-absence from college, and Mrs.
McBride chaperoned us. We had a charming time--but I shall have to
omit details; they are too many and complicated.



Up before dawn! The night watchman called us--six of us--and we made
coffee in a chafing dish (you never saw so many grounds!) and walked
two miles to the top of One Tree Hill to see the sun rise. We had to
scramble up the last slope! The sun almost beat us! And perhaps you
think we didn’t bring back appetites to breakfast!

Dear me, Daddy, I seem to have a very ejaculatory style to-day; this
page is peppered with exclamations.

  [Illustration: “This is Prexy’s kitten. You can see from the
  picture how Angora he is.”]

I meant to have written a lot about the budding trees and the new
cinder path in the athletic field, and the awful lesson we have in
biology for to-morrow, and the new canoes on the lake, and Catherine
Prentiss who has pneumonia, and Prexy’s Angora kitten that strayed
from home and has been boarding in Fergussen Hall for two weeks
until a chambermaid reported it, and about my three new
dresses--white and pink and blue polka dots with a hat to match--but
I am too sleepy. I am always making this an excuse, am I not? But a
girl’s college is a busy place and we do get tired by the end of the
day! Particularly when the day begins at dawn.



  May 15th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Is it good manners when you get into a car just to stare straight
ahead and not see anybody else?

A very beautiful lady in a very beautiful velvet dress got into the
car to-day, and without the slightest expression sat for fifteen
minutes and looked at a sign advertising suspenders. It doesn’t
seem polite to ignore everybody else as though you were the only
important person present. Anyway, you miss a lot. While she was
absorbing that silly sign, I was studying a whole car full of
interesting human beings.

The accompanying illustration is hereby reproduced for the first
time. It looks like a spider on the end of a string, but it isn’t
at all; it’s a picture of me learning to swim in the tank in the


The instructor hooks a rope into a ring in the back of my belt, and
runs it through a pulley in the ceiling. It would be a beautiful
system if one had perfect confidence in the probity of one’s
instructor. I’m always afraid, though, that she will let the rope
get slack, so I keep one anxious eye on her and swim with the other,
and with this divided interest I do not make the progress that I
otherwise might.

Very miscellaneous weather we’re having of late. It was raining
when I commenced and now the sun is shining. Sallie and I are going
out to play tennis--thereby gaining exemption from Gym.

  A week later.

I should have finished this letter long ago, but I didn’t. You
don’t mind, do you, Daddy, if I’m not very regular? I really do
love to write to you; it gives me such a respectable feeling of
having some family. Would you like me to tell you something? You are
not the only man to whom I write letters. There are two others!
I have been receiving beautiful long letters this winter from Master
Jervie (with typewritten envelopes so Julia won’t recognize the
writing). Did you ever hear anything so shocking? And every week or
so a very scrawly epistle, usually on yellow tablet paper, arrives
from Princeton. All of which I answer with businesslike promptness.
So you see--I am not so different from other girls--I get mail, too.

Did I tell you that I have been elected a member of the Senior
Dramatic Club? Very _recherché_ organization. Only seventy-five
members out of one thousand. Do you think as a consistent Socialist
that I ought to belong?

What do you suppose is at present engaging my attention in
sociology? I am writing (_figurez vous!_) a paper on the Care of
Dependent Children. The Professor shuffled up his subjects and dealt
them out promiscuously, and that fell to me. _C’est drôle ça n’est

There goes the gong for dinner. I’ll mail this as I pass the chute.



  June 4th.

  _Dear Daddy_,

Very busy time--commencement in ten days, examinations to-morrow;
lots of studying, lots of packing, and the outdoors world so lovely
that it hurts you to stay inside.

But never mind, vacation’s coming. Julia is going abroad this
summer--it makes the fourth time. No doubt about it, Daddy, goods
are not distributed evenly. Sallie, as usual, goes to the
Adirondacks. And what do you think I am going to do? You may have
three guesses. Lock Willow? Wrong. The Adirondacks with Sallie?
Wrong. (I’ll never attempt that again; I was discouraged last
year.) Can’t you guess anything else? You’re not very inventive.
I’ll tell you, Daddy, if you’ll promise not to make a lot of
objections. I warn your secretary ahead of time that my mind is made

I am going to spend the summer at the seaside with a Mrs. Charles
Paterson and tutor her daughter who is to enter college in the
autumn. I met her through the McBrides, and she is a very charming
woman. I am to give lessons in English and Latin to the younger
daughter, too, but I shall have a little time to myself, and I shall
be earning fifty dollars a month! Doesn’t that impress you as a
perfectly exorbitant amount? She offered it; I should have blushed
to ask more than twenty-five.

I finish at Magnolia (that’s where she lives) the first of
September and shall probably spend the remaining three weeks at Lock
Willow--I should like to see the Semples again and all the friendly

How does my program strike you, Daddy? I am getting quite
independent, you see. You have put me on my feet and I think I can
almost walk alone by now.

Princeton commencement and our examinations exactly coincide--which
is an awful blow. Sallie and I did so want to get away in time for
it, but of course that is utterly impossible.

Good-by, Daddy. Have a nice summer and come back in the autumn
rested and ready for another year of work. (That’s what you ought
to be writing to me!) I haven’t an idea what you do in the summer,
or how you amuse yourself. I can’t visualize your surroundings. Do
you play golf or hunt or ride horseback or just sit in the sun and

Anyway, whatever it is, have a good time and don’t forget Judy.

  June Tenth.

  _Dear Daddy_,

This is the hardest letter I ever wrote, but I have decided what I
must do, and there isn’t going to be any turning back. It is very
sweet and generous and dear of you to wish to send me to Europe this
summer--for the moment I was intoxicated by the idea; but sober
second thoughts said no. It would be rather illogical of me to
refuse to take your money for college, and then use it instead just
for amusement! You mustn’t get me used to too many luxuries. One
doesn’t miss what one has never had; but it is awfully hard going
without things after one has commenced thinking they are his--hers
(English language needs another pronoun) by natural right. Living
with Sallie and Julia is an awful strain on my stoical philosophy.
They have both had things from the time they were babies; they
accept happiness as a matter of course. The World, they think, owes
them everything they want. Maybe the World does--in any case, it
seems to acknowledge the debt and pay up. But as for me, it owes me
nothing, and distinctly told me so in the beginning. I have no right
to borrow on credit, for there will come a time when the World will
repudiate my claim.

I seem to be floundering in a sea of metaphor--but I hope you grasp
my meaning? Anyway, I have a very strong feeling that the only
honest thing for me to do is to teach this summer and begin to
support myself.

   *   *   *   *   *


  Four days later.

I’d got just that much written, when--what do you think happened?
The maid arrived with Master Jervie’s card. He is going abroad too
this summer; not with Julia and her family but entirely by himself.
I told him that you had invited me to go with a lady who is
chaperoning a party of girls. He knows about you, Daddy. That is, he
knows that my father and mother are dead, and that a kind gentleman
is sending me to college; I simply didn’t have the courage to tell
him about the John Grier Home and all the rest. He thinks that you
are my guardian and a perfectly legitimate old family friend. I have
never told him that I didn’t know you--that would seem too queer!

Anyway, he insisted on my going to Europe. He said that it was a
necessary part of my education and that I mustn’t think of
refusing. Also, that he would be in Paris at the same time, and that
we would run away from the chaperon occasionally and have dinner
together at nice, funny, foreign restaurants.

Well, Daddy, it did appeal to me! I almost weakened; if he hadn’t
been so dictatorial, maybe I should have entirely weakened. I can be
enticed step by step, but I _won’t_ be forced. He said I was a
silly, foolish, irrational, quixotic, idiotic, stubborn child (those
are a few of his abusive adjectives; the rest escape me) and that I
didn’t know what was good for me; I ought to let older people
judge. We almost quarreled--I am not sure but that we entirely did!

In any case, I packed my trunk fast and came up here. I thought I’d
better see my bridges in flames behind me before I finished writing
to you. They are entirely reduced to ashes now. Here I am at Cliff
Top (the name of Mrs. Paterson’s cottage) with my trunk unpacked and
Florence (the little one) already struggling with first declension
nouns. And it bids fair to be a struggle! She is a most uncommonly
spoiled child; I shall have to teach her first how to study--she has
never in her life concentrated on anything more difficult than
ice-cream soda water.

We use a quiet corner of the cliffs for a schoolroom--Mrs. Paterson
wishes me to keep them out of doors--and I will say that _I_ find it
difficult to concentrate with the blue sea before me and ships
a-sailing by! And when I think I might be on one, sailing off to
foreign lands--but I _won’t_ let myself think of anything but Latin

  The prepositions a or ab, absque, coram, cum, de, e or ex, prae,
  pro, sine, tenus, in, subter, sub and super govern the ablative.

So you see, Daddy, I am already plunged into work with my eyes
persistently set against temptation. Don’t be cross with me, please,
and don’t think that I do not appreciate your kindness, for I
do--always--always. The only way I can ever repay you is by turning
out a Very Useful Citizen (Are women citizens? I don’t suppose they
are). Anyway, a Very Useful Person. And when you look at me you can
say, “I gave that Very Useful Person to the world.”

That sounds well, doesn’t it, Daddy? But I don’t wish to mislead
you. The feeling often comes over me that I am not at all
remarkable; it is fun to plan a career, but in all probability,
I shan’t turn out a bit different from any other ordinary person.
I may end by marrying an undertaker and being an inspiration to him
in his work.

  Yours ever,


  August 19th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

My window looks out on the loveliest landscape--ocean-scape
rather--nothing but water and rocks.

The summer goes. I spend the morning with Latin and English and
algebra and my two stupid girls. I don’t know how Marion is ever
going to get into college, or stay in after she gets there. And as
for Florence, she is hopeless--but oh! such a little beauty. I don’t
suppose it matters in the least whether they are stupid or not so
long as they are pretty? One can’t help thinking though, how their
conversation will bore their husbands, unless they are fortunate
enough to obtain stupid husbands. I suppose that’s quite possible;
the world seems to be filled with stupid men; I’ve met a number
this summer.

In the afternoon we take a walk on the cliffs, or swim, if the tide
is right. I can swim in salt water with the utmost ease--you see my
education is already being put to use!

A letter comes from Mr. Jervis Pendleton in Paris, rather a short,
concise letter; I’m not quite forgiven yet for refusing to follow
his advice. However, if he gets back in time, he will see me for a
few days at Lock Willow before college opens, and if I am very nice
and sweet and docile, I shall (I am led to infer) be received into
favor again.

Also a letter from Sallie. She wants me to come to their camp for
two weeks in September. Must I ask your permission, or haven’t I
yet arrived at the place where I can do as I please? Yes, I am sure
I have--I’m a Senior, you know. Having worked all summer, I feel
like taking a little healthful recreation; I want to see the
Adirondacks; I want to see Sallie; I want to see Sallie’s
brother--he’s going to teach me to canoe--and (we come to my chief
motive, which is mean) I want Master Jervie to arrive at Lock Willow
and find me not there.

I _must_ show him that he can’t dictate to me. No one can dictate to
me but you, Daddy--and you can’t always! I’m off for the woods.



  September 6th.

  _Dear Daddy_,

Your letter didn’t come in time (I am pleased to say). If you wish
your instructions to be obeyed, you must have your secretary
transmit them in less than two weeks. As you observe, I am here,
and have been for five days.

The woods are fine, and so is the camp, and so is the weather, and
so are the McBrides, and so is the whole world. I’m very happy!

There’s Jimmie calling for me to come canoeing. Good-by--sorry to
have disobeyed, but why are you so persistent about not wanting me
to play a little? When I’ve worked all summer I deserve two weeks.
You are awfully dog-in-the-mangerish.

However--I love you still, Daddy, in spite of all your faults.


  October 3rd.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Back at college and a Senior--also editor of the _Monthly_. It
doesn’t seem possible, does it, that so sophisticated a person,
just four years ago, was an inmate of the John Grier Home? We do
arrive fast in America!

What do you think of this? A note from Master Jervie directed to
Lock Willow and forwarded here. He’s sorry but he finds that he
can’t get up there this autumn; he has accepted an invitation to go
yachting with some friends. Hopes I’ve had a nice summer and am
enjoying the country.

And he knew all the time that I was with the McBrides, for Julia
told him so! You men ought to leave intrigue to women; you haven’t
a light enough touch.

Julia has a trunkful of the most ravishing new clothes--an evening
gown of rainbow Liberty crêpe that would be fitting raiment for the
angels in Paradise. And I thought that my own clothes this year were
unprecedentedly (is there such a word?) beautiful. I copied Mrs.
Paterson’s wardrobe with the aid of a cheap dressmaker, and though
the gowns didn’t turn out quite twins of the originals, I was
entirely happy until Julia unpacked. But now--I live to see Paris!

Dear Daddy, aren’t you glad you’re not a girl? I suppose you think
that the fuss we make over clothes is too absolutely silly? It is.
No doubt about it. But it’s entirely your fault.

Did you ever hear about the learned Herr Professor who regarded
unnecessary adornment with contempt, and favored sensible,
utilitarian clothes for women? His wife, who was an obliging
creature, adopted “dress reform.” And what do you think he did?
He eloped with a chorus girl.

  Yours ever,


P. S. The chamber-maid on our corridor wears blue checked gingham
aprons. I am going to get her some brown ones instead, and sink the
blue ones in the bottom of the lake. I have a reminiscent chill
every time I look at them.

  November 17th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Such a blight has fallen over my literary career. I don’t know
whether to tell you or not, but I would like some sympathy--silent
sympathy, please; don’t reopen the wound by referring to it in your
next letter.

I’ve been writing a book, all last winter in the evenings, and all
summer when I wasn’t teaching Latin to my two stupid children.
I just finished it before college opened and sent it to a publisher.
He kept it two months, and I was certain he was going to take it;
but yesterday morning an express parcel came (thirty cents due) and
there it was back again with a letter from the publisher, a very
nice, fatherly letter--but frank! He said he saw from the address
that I was still in college, and if I would accept some advice, he
would suggest that I put all of my energy into my lessons and wait
until I graduated before beginning to write. He enclosed his
reader’s opinion. Here it is:

“Plot highly improbable. Characterization exaggerated. Conversation
unnatural. A good deal of humor but not always in the best of taste.
Tell her to keep on trying, and in time she may produce a real

Not on the whole flattering, is it, Daddy? And I thought I was
making a notable addition to American literature, I did truly. I was
planning to surprise you by writing a great novel before I
graduated. I collected the material for it while I was at Julia’s
last Christmas. But I dare say the editor is right. Probably two
weeks was not enough in which to observe the manners and customs of
a great city.

I took it walking with me yesterday afternoon, and when I came to
the gas house, I went in and asked the engineer if I might borrow
his furnace. He politely opened the door, and with my own hands I
chucked it in. I felt as though I had cremated my only child!

I went to bed last night utterly dejected; I thought I was never
going to amount to anything, and that you had thrown away your money
for nothing. But what do you think? I woke up this morning with a
beautiful new plot in my head, and I’ve been going about all day
planning my characters, just as happy as I could be. No one can ever
accuse me of being a pessimist! If I had a husband and twelve
children swallowed by an earthquake one day, I’d bob up smilingly
the next morning and commence to look for another set.



  December 14th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I dreamed the funniest dream last night. I thought I went into a
book store and the clerk brought me a new book named “The Life and
Letters of Judy Abbott.” I could see it perfectly plainly--red cloth
binding with a picture of the John Grier Home on the cover, and my
portrait for a frontispiece with, “Very truly yours, Judy Abbott,”
written below. But just as I was turning to the end to read the
inscription on my tombstone, I woke up. It was very annoying!
I almost found out who I’m going to marry and when I’m going to

Don’t you think it would be interesting if you really could read the
story of your life--written perfectly truthfully by an omniscient
author? And suppose you could only read it on this condition: that
you would never forget it, but would have to go through life knowing
ahead of time exactly how everything you did would turn out, and
foreseeing to the exact hour the time when you would die. How many
people do you suppose would have the courage to read it then? Or how
many could suppress their curiosity sufficiently to escape from
reading it, even at the price of having to live without hope and
without surprises?

Life is monotonous enough at best; you have to eat and sleep about
so often. But imagine how _deadly_ monotonous it would be if nothing
unexpected could happen between meals. Mercy! Daddy, there’s a
blot, but I’m on the third page and I can’t begin a new sheet.

I’m going on with biology again this year--very interesting
subject; we’re studying the alimentary system at present. You
should see how sweet a cross-section of the duodenum of a cat is
under the microscope.

Also we’ve arrived at philosophy--interesting but evanescent.
I prefer biology where you can pin the subject under discussion to a
board. There’s another! And another! This pen is weeping copiously.
Please excuse its tears.

Do you believe in free will? I do--unreservedly. I don’t agree at
all with the philosophers who think that every action is the
absolutely inevitable and automatic resultant of an aggregation
of remote causes. That’s the most immoral doctrine I ever
heard--nobody would be to blame for anything. If a man believed in
fatalism, he would naturally just sit down and say, “The Lord’s will
be done,” and continue to sit until he fell over dead.

I believe absolutely in my own free will and my own power to
accomplish--and that is the belief that moves mountains. You watch
me become a great author! I have four chapters of my new book
finished and five more drafted.

This is a very abstruse letter--does your head ache, Daddy? I think
we’ll stop now and make some fudge. I’m sorry I can’t send you a
piece; it will be unusually good, for we’re going to make it with
real cream and three butter balls.

  Yours affectionately,


P. S. We’re having fancy dancing in gymnasium class. You can see by
the accompanying picture how much we look like a real ballet. The
one on the end accomplishing a graceful pirouette is me--I mean I.


  December 26th.

  _My dear, dear Daddy_,

Haven’t you any sense? Don’t you _know_ that you mustn’t give one
girl seventeen Christmas presents? I’m a Socialist, please
remember; do you wish to turn me into a Plutocrat?

Think how embarrassing it would be if we should ever quarrel!
I should have to engage a moving van to return your gifts.


I am sorry that the necktie I sent was so wobbly; I knit it with my
own hands (as you doubtless discovered from internal evidence). You
will have to wear it on cold days and keep your coat buttoned up

Thank you, Daddy, a thousand times. I think you’re the sweetest man
that ever lived--and the foolishest!


Here’s a four-leaf clover from Camp McBride to bring you good luck
for the New Year.

  January 9th.

Do you wish to do something, Daddy, that will insure your eternal
salvation? There is a family here who are in awfully desperate
straits. A mother and father and four visible children--the two
older boys have disappeared into the world to make their fortune and
have not sent any of it back. The father worked in a glass factory
and got consumption--it’s awfully unhealthy work--and now has been
sent away to a hospital. That took all of their savings, and the
support of the family falls upon the oldest daughter who is
twenty-four. She dressmakes for $1.50 a day (when she can get it)
and embroiders centerpieces in the evening. The mother isn’t very
strong and is extremely ineffectual and pious. She sits with her
hands folded, a picture of patient resignation, while the daughter
kills herself with overwork and responsibility and worry; she
doesn’t see how they are going to get through the rest of the
winter--and I don’t either. One hundred dollars would buy some coal
and some shoes for the three children so that they could go to
school, and give a little margin so that she needn’t worry herself
to death when a few days pass and she doesn’t get work.

You are the richest man I know. Don’t you suppose you could spare
one hundred dollars? That girl deserves help a lot more than I ever
did. I wouldn’t ask it except for the girl; I don’t care much what
happens to the mother--she is such a jelly-fish.

The way people are forever rolling their eyes to heaven and saying,
“Perhaps it’s all for the best,” when they are perfectly dead sure
it’s not, makes me enraged. Humility or resignation or whatever you
choose to call it, is simply impotent inertia. I’m for a more
militant religion!

We are getting the most dreadful lessons in philosophy--all of
Schopenhauer for to-morrow. The professor doesn’t seem to realize
that we are taking any other subject. He’s a queer old duck; he
goes about with his head in the clouds and blinks dazedly when
occasionally he strikes solid earth. He tries to lighten his
lectures with an occasional witticism--and we do our best to smile,
but I assure you his jokes are no laughing matter. He spends his
entire time between classes in trying to figure out whether matter
really exists or whether he only thinks it exists.

I’m sure my sewing girl hasn’t any doubt but that it exists!

Where do you think my new novel is? In the waste basket. I can see
myself that it’s no good on earth, and when a loving author
realizes that, what _would_ be the judgment of a critical public?


I address you, Daddy, from a bed of pain. For two days I’ve been
laid up with swollen tonsils; I can just swallow hot milk, and that
is all. “What were your parents thinking of not to have those
tonsils out when you were a baby?” the doctor wished to know. I’m
sure I haven’t an idea, but I doubt if they were thinking much
about me.


    J. A.

  Next morning.

I just read this over before sealing it. I don’t know _why_ I cast
such a misty atmosphere over life. I hasten to assure you that I am
young and happy and exuberant; and I trust you are the same. Youth
has nothing to do with birthdays, only with _alivedness_ of spirit,
so even if your hair is gray, Daddy, you can still be a boy.



  Jan. 12th.

  _Dear Mr. Philanthropist_,

Your check for my family came yesterday. Thank you so much! I cut
gymnasium and took it down to them right after luncheon, and you
should have seen the girl’s face! She was so surprised and happy and
relieved that she looked almost young; and she’s only twenty-four.
Isn’t it pitiful?

Anyway, she feels now as though all the good things were coming
together. She has steady work ahead for two months--some one’s
getting married, and there’s a trousseau to make.

“Thank the good Lord!” cried the mother, when she grasped the fact
that that small piece of paper was one hundred dollars.

“It wasn’t the good Lord at all,” said I, “it was Daddy-Long-Legs.”
(Mr. Smith, I called you.)

“But it was the good Lord who put it in his mind,” said she.

“Not at all! I put it in his mind myself,” said I.

But anyway, Daddy, I trust the good Lord will reward you suitably.
You deserve ten thousand years out of purgatory.

  Yours most gratefully,


  Feb. 15th.

  _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 to-day 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. “To-day 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 to-night and
make it eight.

  Farewell, kind Sir.

  I have the honour of subscribing myself,

  Your most loyall, dutifull, faithfull and obedient servant,

    J. ABBOTT.

  March Fifth.

  _Dear Mr. Trustee_,

To-morrow 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.




  April 4th.

  _Dear Daddy_,

Do you observe the postmark? Sallie and I are embellishing Lock
Willow with our presence during the Easter vacation. We decided that
the best thing we could do with our ten days was to come where it is
quiet. Our nerves had got to the point where they wouldn’t stand
another meal in Fergussen. Dining in a room with four hundred girls
is an ordeal when you are tired. There is so much noise that you
can’t hear the girls across the table speak unless they make their
hands into a megaphone and shout. That is the truth.

We are tramping over the hills and reading and writing, and having a
nice, restful time. We climbed to the top of “Sky Hill” this morning
where Master Jervie and I once cooked supper--it doesn’t seem
possible that it was nearly two years ago. I could still see the
place where the smoke of our fire blackened the rock. It is funny
how certain places get connected with certain people, and you never
go back without thinking of them. I was quite lonely without
him--for two minutes.

What do you think is my latest activity, Daddy? You will begin to
believe that I am incorrigible--I am writing a book. I started it
three weeks ago and am eating it up in chunks. I’ve caught the
secret. Master Jervie and that editor man were right; you are most
convincing when you write about the things you know. And this time
it is about something that I do know--exhaustively. Guess where
it’s laid? In the John Grier Home! And it’s good, Daddy,
I actually believe it is--just about the tiny little things that
happened every day. I’m a realist now. I’ve abandoned romanticism;
I shall go back to it later though, when my own adventurous future

This new book is going to get itself finished--and published! You
see if it doesn’t. If you just want a thing hard enough and keep on
trying, you do get it in the end. I’ve been trying for four years
to get a letter from you--and I haven’t given up hope yet.

Good-by, Daddy dear,

(I like to call you Daddy dear; it’s so alliterative.)



P. S. I forgot to tell you the farm news, but it’s very
distressing. Skip this postscript if you don’t want your
sensibilities all wrought up.

Poor old Grove is dead. He got so he couldn’t chew and they had to
shoot him.

Nine chickens were killed by a weasel or a skunk or a rat last week.

One of the cows is sick, and we had to have the veterinary surgeon
out from Bonnyrigg Four Corners. Amasai stayed up all night to give
her linseed oil and whisky. But we have an awful suspicion that the
poor sick cow got nothing but linseed oil.

Sentimental Tommy (the tortoise-shell cat) has disappeared; we are
afraid he has been caught in a trap.

There are lots of troubles in the world!

  May 17th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

This is going to be extremely short because my shoulder aches at the
sight of a pen. Lecture notes all day, immortal novel all evening
makes too much writing.

Commencement three weeks from next Wednesday. I think you might come
and make my acquaintance--I shall hate you if you don’t! Julia’s
inviting Master Jervie, he being her family, and Sallie’s inviting
Jimmie McB., he being her family, but who is there for me to invite?
Just you and Mrs. Lippett, and I don’t want her. Please come.

  Yours, with love and writer’s cramp.



  June 19th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

I’m educated! My diploma is in the bottom bureau drawer with my two
best dresses. Commencement was as usual, with a few showers at vital
moments. Thank you for your rosebuds. They were lovely. Master
Jervie and Master Jimmie both gave me roses, too, but I left theirs
in the bath tub and carried yours in the class procession.

Here I am at Lock Willow for the summer--forever maybe. The board is
cheap; the surroundings quiet and conducive to a literary life. What
more does a struggling author wish? I am mad about my book. I think
of it every waking moment, and dream of it at night. All I want is
peace and quiet and lots of time to work (interspersed with
nourishing meals).

Master Jervie is coming up for a week or so in August, and Jimmie
McBride is going to drop in sometime through the summer. He’s
connected with a bond house now, and goes about the country selling
bonds to banks. He’s going to combine the “Farmers’ National” at
the Corners and me on the same trip.

You see that Lock Willow isn’t entirely lacking in society. I’d be
expecting to have you come motoring through--only I know now that
that is hopeless. When you wouldn’t come to my commencement, I tore
you from my heart and buried you forever.


  July 24th.

  _Dearest Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Isn’t it fun to work--or don’t you ever do it? It’s especially fun
when your kind of work is the thing you’d rather do more than
anything else in the world. I’ve been writing as fast as my pen
would go every day this summer, and my only quarrel with life is
that the days aren’t long enough to write all the beautiful and
valuable and entertaining thoughts I’m thinking.

I’ve finished the second draft of my book and am going to begin the
third to-morrow morning at half-past seven. It’s the sweetest book
you ever saw--it is, truly. I think of nothing else. I can barely
wait in the morning to dress and eat before beginning; then I write
and write and write till suddenly I’m so tired that I’m limp all
over. Then I go out with Colin (the new sheep dog) and romp through
the fields and get a fresh supply of ideas for the next day. It’s
the most beautiful book you ever saw--Oh, pardon--I said that

You don’t think me conceited, do you, Daddy dear?

I’m not, really, only just now I’m in the enthusiastic stage.
Maybe later on I’ll get cold and critical and sniffy. No, I’m sure
I won’t! This time I’ve written a real book. Just wait till you see

I’ll try for a minute to talk about something else. I never told
you, did I, that Amasai and Carry got married last May? They are
still working here, but so far as I can see it has spoiled them
both. She used just to laugh when he tramped in mud or dropped ashes
on the floor, but now--you should hear her scold! And she doesn’t
curl her hair any longer. Amasai, who used to be so obliging about
beating rugs and carrying wood, grumbles if you suggest such a
thing. Also his neckties are quite dingy--black and brown, where
they used to be scarlet and purple. I’ve determined never to marry.
It’s a deteriorating process, evidently.

There isn’t much of any farm news. The animals are all in the best
of health. The pigs are unusually fat, the cows seem contented and
the hens are laying well. Are you interested in poultry? If so, let
me recommend that invaluable little work, “200 Eggs per Hen per
Year.” I am thinking of starting an incubator next spring and
raising broilers. You see I’m settled at Lock Willow permanently.
I have decided to stay until I’ve written 114 novels like Anthony
Trollope’s mother. Then I shall have completed my life work and can
retire and travel.

Mr. James McBride spent last Sunday with us. Fried chicken and
ice-cream for dinner, both of which he appeared to appreciate. I was
awfully glad to see him; he brought a momentary reminder that the
world at large exists. Poor Jimmie is having a hard time peddling
his bonds. The Farmers’ National at the Corners wouldn’t have
anything to do with them in spite of the fact that they pay six per
cent. interest and sometimes seven. I think he’ll end by going home
to Worcester and taking a job in his father’s factory. He’s too
open and confiding and kind-hearted ever to make a successful
financier. But to be the manager of a flourishing overall factory is
a very desirable position, don’t you think? Just now he turns up his
nose at overalls, but he’ll come to them.

I hope you appreciate the fact that this is a long letter from a
person with writer’s cramp. But I still love you, Daddy dear, and
I’m very happy. With beautiful scenery all about, and lots to eat
and a comfortable four-post bed and a ream of blank paper and a pint
of ink--what more does one want in the world?

  Yours, as always,


P. S. The postman arrives with some more news. We are to expect
Master Jervie on Friday next to spend a week. That’s a very
pleasant prospect--only I am afraid my poor book will suffer. Master
Jervie is very demanding.

  August 27th.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Where are you, I wonder?

I never know what part of the world you are in, but I hope you’re
not in New York during this awful weather. I hope you’re on a
mountain peak (but not in Switzerland; somewhere nearer) looking at
the snow and thinking about me. Please be thinking about me. I’m
quite lonely and I want to be thought about. Oh, Daddy, I wish I
knew you! Then when we were unhappy we could cheer each other up.

I don’t think I can stand much more of Lock Willow. I’m thinking of
moving. Sallie is going to do settlement work in Boston next winter.
Don’t you think it would be nice for me to go with her, then we
could have a studio together? I could write while she _settled_ and
we could be together in the evenings. Evenings are very long when
there’s no one but the Semples and Carrie and Amasai to talk to.
I know ahead of time that you won’t like my studio idea. I can read
your secretary’s letter now:

“_Miss Jerusha Abbott._


“Mr. Smith prefers that you remain at Lock Willow.

  “Yours truly,


I hate your secretary. I am certain that a man named Elmer H. Griggs
must be horrid. But truly, Daddy, I think I shall have to go to
Boston. I can’t stay here. If something doesn’t happen soon,
I shall throw myself into the silo pit out of sheer desperation.

Mercy! but it’s hot. All the grass is burnt up and the brooks are
dry and the roads are dusty. It hasn’t rained for weeks and weeks.

This letter sounds as though I had hydrophobia, but I haven’t.
I just want some family.

Good-by, my dearest Daddy.

  I wish I knew you.



  September 19th.

  _Dear Daddy_,

Something has happened and I need advice. I need it from you, and
from nobody else in the world. Wouldn’t it be possible for me to
see you? It’s so much easier to talk than to write; and I’m afraid
your secretary might open the letter.


P. S. I’m very unhappy.


  October 3d.

  _Dear Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Your note written in your own hand--and a pretty wobbly hand!--came
this morning. I am so sorry that you have been ill; I wouldn’t have
bothered you with my affairs if I had known. Yes, I will tell you
the trouble, but it’s sort of complicated to write, and _very
private_. Please don’t keep this letter, but burn it.

Before I begin--here’s a check for one thousand dollars. It seems
funny, doesn’t it, for me to be sending a check to you? Where do
you think I got it?

I’ve sold my story, Daddy. It’s going to be published serially in
seven parts, and then in a book! You might think I’d be wild with
joy, but I’m not. I’m entirely apathetic. Of course I’m glad to
begin paying you--I owe you over two thousand more. It’s coming in
instalments. Now don’t be horrid, please, about taking it, because
it makes me happy to return it. I owe you a great deal more than the
mere money, and the rest I will continue to pay all my life in
gratitude and affection.

And now, Daddy, about the other thing; please give me your most
worldly advice, whether you think I’ll like it or not.

You know that I’ve always had a very special feeling toward you;
you sort of represented my whole family; but you won’t mind, will
you, if I tell you that I have a very much more special feeling for
another man? You can probably guess without much trouble who he is.
I suspect that my letters have been very full of Master Jervie for a
very long time.

I wish I could make you understand what he is like and how entirely
companionable we are. We think the same about everything--I am
afraid I have a tendency to make over my ideas to match his! But he
is almost always right; he ought to be, you know, for he has
fourteen years’ start of me. In other ways, though, he’s just an
overgrown boy, and he does need looking after--he hasn’t any sense
about wearing rubbers when it rains. He and I always think the same
things are funny, and that is such a lot; it’s dreadful when two
people’s senses of humor are antagonistic. I don’t believe there’s
any bridging that gulf!

And he is--Oh, well! He is just himself, and I miss him, and miss
him, and miss him. The whole world seems empty and aching. I hate
the moonlight because it’s beautiful and he isn’t here to see it
with me. But maybe you’ve loved somebody, too, and you know? If you
have, I don’t need to explain; if you haven’t, I can’t explain.

Anyway, that’s the way I feel--and I’ve refused to marry him.

I didn’t tell him why; I was just dumb and miserable. I couldn’t
think of anything to say. And now he has gone away imagining that I
want to marry Jimmie McBride--I don’t in the least, I wouldn’t
think of marrying Jimmie; he isn’t grown up enough. But Master
Jervie and I got into a dreadful muddle of misunderstanding, and we
both hurt each other’s feelings. The reason I sent him away was not
because I didn’t care for him, but because I cared for him so much.
I was afraid he would regret it in the future--and I couldn’t stand
that! It didn’t seem right for a person of my lack of antecedents
to marry into any such family as his. I never told him about the
orphan asylum, and I hated to explain that I didn’t know who I was.
I may be _dreadful_, you know. And his family are proud--and I’m
proud, too!

Also, I felt sort of bound to you. After having been educated to be
a writer, I must at least try to be one; it would scarcely be fair
to accept your education and then go off and not use it. But now
that I am going to be able to pay back the money, I feel that I have
partially discharged that debt--besides, I suppose I could keep on
being a writer even if I did marry. The two professions are not
necessarily exclusive.

I’ve been thinking very hard about it. Of course he is a Socialist,
and he has unconventional ideas; maybe he wouldn’t mind marrying
into the proletariat so much as some men might. Perhaps when two
people are exactly in accord, and always happy when together and
lonely when apart, they ought not to let anything in the world stand
between them. Of course I _want_ to believe that! But I’d like to
get your unemotional opinion. You probably belong to a Family also,
and will look at it from a worldly point of view and not just a
sympathetic, human point of view--so you see how brave I am to lay
it before you.

Suppose I go to him and explain that the trouble isn’t Jimmie, but
is the John Grier Home--would that be a dreadful thing for me to do?
It would take a great deal of courage. I’d almost rather be
miserable for the rest of my life.

This happened nearly two months ago; I haven’t heard a word from
him since he was here. I was just getting sort of acclimated to the
feeling of a broken heart, when a letter came from Julia that
stirred me all up again. She said--very casually--that “Uncle
Jervis” had been caught out all night in a storm when he was hunting
in Canada, and had been ill ever since with pneumonia. And I never
knew it. I was feeling hurt because he had just disappeared into
blankness without a word. I think he’s pretty unhappy, and I know I

What seems to you the right thing for me to do?


  October 6th.

  _Dearest Daddy-Long-Legs_,

Yes, certainly I’ll come--at half-past four next Wednesday
afternoon. Of _course_ I can find the way. I’ve been in New York
three times and am not quite a baby. I can’t believe that I am
really going to see you--I’ve been just _thinking_ you so long that
it hardly seems as though you are a tangible flesh-and-blood person.

You are awfully good, Daddy, to bother yourself with me, when
you’re not strong. Take care and don’t catch cold. These fall rains
are very damp.



P. S. I’ve just had an awful thought. Have you a butler? I’m
afraid of butlers, and if one opens the door I shall faint upon the
step. What can I say to him? You didn’t tell me your name. Shall I
ask for Mr. Smith?

  Thursday Morning.

  _My very dearest Master-Jervie-Daddy-Long-Legs-Pendleton-Smith_,

Did you sleep last night? I didn’t. Not a single wink. I was too
amazed and excited and bewildered and happy. I don’t believe I ever
shall sleep again--or eat either. But I hope you slept; you must,
you know, because then you will get well faster and can come to me.

Dear Man, I can’t bear to think how ill you’ve been--and all the
time I never knew it. When the doctor came down yesterday to put me
in the cab, he told me that for three days they gave you up. Oh,
dearest, if that had happened, the light would have gone out of the
world for me. I suppose that some day--in the far future--one of us
must leave the other; but at least we shall have had our happiness
and there will be memories to live with.

I meant to cheer you up--and instead I have to cheer myself. For in
spite of being happier than I ever dreamed I could be, I’m also
soberer. The fear that something may happen to you rests like a
shadow on my heart. Always before I could be frivolous and care-free
and unconcerned, because I had nothing precious to lose. But now--I
shall have a Great Big Worry all the rest of my life. Whenever you
are away from me I shall be thinking of all the automobiles that can
run over you, or the sign-boards that can fall on your head or the
dreadful, squirmy germs that you may be swallowing. My peace of mind
is gone forever--but anyway, I never cared much for just plain


Please get well--fast--fast--fast. I want to have you close by where
I can touch you and make sure you are tangible. Such a little half
hour we had together! I’m afraid maybe I dreamed it. If I were only
a member of your family (a very distant fourth cousin) then I could
come and visit you every day, and read aloud and plump up your
pillow and smooth out those two little wrinkles in your forehead and
make the corners of your mouth turn up in a nice cheerful smile.
But you are cheerful again, aren’t you? You were yesterday before I
left. The doctor said I must be a good nurse, that you looked ten
years younger. I hope that being in love doesn’t make every one ten
years younger. Will you still care for me, darling, if I turn out to
be only eleven?

Yesterday was the most wonderful day that could ever happen. If I
live to be ninety-nine I shall never forget the tiniest detail. The
girl that left Lock Willow at dawn was a very different person from
the one who came back at night. Mrs. Semple called me at half-past
four. I started wide awake in the darkness and the first thought
that popped into my head was, “I am going to see Daddy-Long-Legs!”
I ate breakfast in the kitchen by candle-light, and then drove the
five miles to the station through the most glorious October
coloring. The sun came up on the way, and the swamp maples and
dogwood glowed crimson and orange and the stone walls and cornfields
sparkled with hoar frost; the air was keen and clear and full of
promise. I _knew_ something was going to happen. All the way
in the train the rails kept singing, “You’re going to see
Daddy-Long-Legs.” It made me feel secure. I had such faith in
Daddy’s ability to set things right. And I knew that somewhere
another man--dearer than Daddy--was wanting to see me, and somehow I
had a feeling that before the journey ended I should meet him, too.
And you see!

When I came to the house on Madison Avenue it looked so big and
brown and forbidding that I didn’t dare go in, so I walked around
the block to get up my courage. But I needn’t have been a bit
afraid; your butler is such a nice, fatherly old man that he made me
feel at home at once. “Is this Miss Abbott?” he said to me, and I
said, “Yes,” so I didn’t have to ask for Mr. Smith after all.
He told me to wait in the drawing-room. It was a very somber,
magnificent, man’s sort of room. I sat down on the edge of a big
upholstered chair and kept saying to myself:

“I’m going to see Daddy-Long-Legs! I’m going to see Daddy-Long-Legs!”

Then presently the man came back and asked me please to step up to
the library. I was so excited that really and truly my feet would
hardly take me up. Outside the door he turned and whispered, “He’s
been very ill, Miss. This is the first day he’s been allowed to sit
up. You’ll not stay long enough to excite him?” I knew from the way
he said it that he loved you--and I think he’s an old dear!

Then he knocked and said, “Miss Abbott,” and I went in and the door
closed behind me.

It was so dim coming in from the brightly lighted hall that for a
moment I could scarcely make out anything; then I saw a big easy
chair before the fire and a shining tea table with a smaller chair
beside it. And I realized that a man was sitting in the big chair
propped up by pillows with a rug over his knees. Before I could stop
him he rose--sort of shakily--and steadied himself by the back of
the chair and just looked at me without a word. And then--and
then--I saw it was you! But even with that I didn’t understand.
I thought Daddy had had you come there to meet me for a surprise.

Then you laughed and held out your hand and said, “Dear little Judy,
couldn’t you guess that I was Daddy-Long-Legs?”

In an instant it flashed over me. Oh, but I have been stupid!
A hundred little things might have told me, if I had had any wits.
I wouldn’t make a very good detective, would I, Daddy?--Jervie?
What must I call you? Just plain Jervie sounds disrespectful, and I
can’t be disrespectful to you!

It was a very sweet half hour before your doctor came and sent me
away. I was so dazed when I got to the station that I almost took a
train for St. Louis. And you were pretty dazed, too. You forgot to
give me any tea. But we’re both very, very happy, aren’t we?
I drove back to Lock Willow in the dark--but oh, how the stars were
shining! And this morning I’ve been out with Colin visiting all the
places that you and I went to together, and remembering what you
said and how you looked. The woods to-day are burnished bronze and
the air is full of frost. It’s _climbing_ weather. I wish you were
here to climb the hills with me. I am missing you dreadfully, Jervie
dear, but it’s a happy kind of missing; we’ll be together soon. We
belong to each other now really and truly, no make-believe. Doesn’t
it seem queer for me to belong to some one at last? It seems very,
very sweet.

And I shall never let you be sorry for a single instant.

  Yours, forever and ever,


P. S. This is the first love letter I ever wrote. Isn’t it funny
that I know how?



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Illustrated by C. D. Williams.

One of the best stories of life in a girl’s college that has ever
been written. It is bright, whimsical and entertaining, lifelike,
laughable and thoroughly human.

^JUST PATTY,^ By Jean Webster.

Illustrated by C. M. Relyea.

Patty is full of the joy of living, fun-loving, given to ingenious
mischief for its own sake, with a disregard for pretty convention
which is an unfailing source of joy to her fellows.


With four full page illustrations.

This story relates the experience of one of those unfortunate
children whose early days are passed in the companionship of a
governess, seldom seeing either parent, and famishing for natural
love and tenderness. A charming play as dramatized by the author.


One of the most beautiful studies of childhood--Rebecca’s artistic,
unusual and quaintly charming qualities stand out midst a circle of
austere New Englanders. The stage version is making a phenominal
dramatic record.

^NEW CHRONICLES OF REBECCA,^ By Kate Douglas Wiggin.

Illustrated by F. C. Yohn.

Additional episodes in the girlhood of this delightful heroine that
carry Rebecca through various stages to her eighteenth birthday.

^REBECCA MARY,^ By Annie Hamilton Donnell.

Illustrated by Elizabeth Shippen Green.

This author possesses the rare gift of portraying all the grotesque
little joys and sorrows and scruples of this very small girl with a
pathos that is peculiarly genuine and appealing.

^EMMY LOU:^ Her Book and Heart, By George Madden Martin.

Illustrated by Charles Louis Hinton.

Emmy Lou is irresistibly lovable, because she is so absolutely real.
She is just a bewitchingly innocent, hugable little maid. The book
is wonderfully human.

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Illustrated by W. L. Jacobs

“The Harvester,” David Langston, is a man of the woods and fields,
who draws his living from the prodigal hand of Mother Nature
herself. If the book had nothing in it but the splendid figure of
this man, with his sure grip on life, his superb optimism, and his
almost miraculous knowledge of nature secrets, it would be notable.
But when the Girl comes to his “Medicine Woods,” and the Harvester’s
whole sound, healthy, large outdoor being realizes that this is the
highest point of life which has come to him--there begins a romance,
troubled and interrupted, yet of the rarest idyllic quality.

^FRECKLES.^ Decorations by E. Stetson Crawford

Freckles is a nameless waif when the tale opens, but the way in
which he takes hold of life; the nature friendships he forms in the
great Limberlost Swamp; the manner in which everyone who meets him
succumbs to the charm of his engaging personality; and his
love-story with “The Angel” are full of real sentiment.


Illustrated by Wladyslaw T. Brenda.

The story of a girl of the Michigan woods; a buoyant, lovable type
of the self-reliant American. Her philosophy is one of love and
kindness towards all things; her hope is never dimmed. And by the
sheer beauty of her soul, and the purity of her vision, she wins
from barren and unpromising surroundings those rewards of high

It is an inspiring story of a life worth while and the rich beauties
of the out-of-doors are strewn through all its pages.


Illustrations in colors by Oliver Kemp. Design and decorations by
Ralph Fletcher Seymour.

The scene of this charming, idyllic love story is laid in Central
Indiana. The story is one of devoted friendship, and tender
self-sacrificing love; the friendship that gives freely without
return, and the love that seeks first the happiness of the object.
The novel is brimful of the most beautiful word painting of nature,
and its pathos and tender sentiment will endear it to all.

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A charming story of a quaint corner of New England where bygone
romance finds a modern parallel. The story centers round the coming
of love to the young people on the staff of a newspaper--and it is
one of the prettiest, sweetest and quaintest of old fashioned love
stories, * * * a rare book, exquisite in spirit and conception, full
of delicate fancy, of tenderness, of delightful humor and


Miss Myrtle Reed may always be depended upon to write a story in
which poetry, charm, tenderness and humor are combined into a clever
and entertaining book. Her characters are delightful and she always
displays a quaint humor of expression and a quiet feeling of pathos
which give a touch of active realism to all her writings. In
“A Spinner in the Sun” she tells an old-fashioned love story, of a
veiled lady who lives in solitude and whose features her neighbors
have never seen. There is a mystery at the heart of the book that
throws over it the glamour of romance.


A love story in a musical atmosphere. A picturesque, old German
virtuoso is the reverent possessor of a genuine “Cremona.” He
consents to take for his pupil a handsome youth who proves to have
an aptitude for technique, but not the soul of an artist. The youth
has led the happy, careless life of a modern, well-to-do young
American and he cannot, with his meagre past, express the love, the
passion and the tragedies of life and all its happy phases as can
the master who has lived life in all its fulness. But a girl comes
into his life--a beautiful bit of human driftwood that his aunt had
taken into her heart and home, and through his passionate love for
her, he learns the lessons that life has to give--and his soul

Founded on a fact that all artists realize.

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^THE BOW OF ORANGE RIBBON.^ With Frontispiece.

This exquisite little romance opens in New York City in “the tender
grace” of a May day long past, when the old Dutch families clustered
around Bowling Green. It is the beginning of the romance of
Katherine, a young Dutch girl who has sent, as a love token, to a
young English officer, the bow of orange ribbon which she has worn
for years as a sacred emblem on the day of St. Nicholas. After the
bow of ribbon Katherine’s heart soon flies. Unlike her sister,
whose heart has found a safe resting place among her own people,
Katherine’s heart must rove from home--must know to the utmost all
that life holds of both joy and sorrow. And so she goes beyond the
seas, leaving her parents as desolate as were Isaac and Rebecca of

^THE MAID OF MAIDEN LANE;^ A Love Story. With Illustrations by
S. M. Arthur.

A sequel to “The Bow of Orange Ribbon.” The time is the gracious
days of Seventeen-hundred and ninety-one, when “The Marseillaise”
was sung with the American national airs, and the spirit affected
commerce, politics and conversation. In the midst of this period the
romance of “The Sweetest Maid in Maiden Lane” unfolds. Its chief
charm lies in its historic and local color.

^SHEILA VEDDER.^ Frontispiece in colors by Harrison Fisher.

A love story set in the Shetland Islands.

Among the simple, homely folk who dwelt there Jan Vedder was raised;
and to this island came lovely Sheila Jarrow. Jan knew, when first
he beheld her, that she was the one woman in all the world for him,
and to the winning of her love he set himself. The long days of
summer by the sea, the nights under the marvelously soft radiance of
Shetland moonlight passed in love-making, while with wonderment the
man and woman, alien in traditions, adjusted themselves to each
other. And the day came when Jan and Sheila wed, and then a sweeter
love story is told.

^TRINITY BELLS.^ With eight Illustrations by C. M. Relyea.

The story centers around the life of little Katryntje Van Clyffe,
who, on her return home from a fashionable boarding school, faces
poverty and heartache. Stout of heart, she does not permit herself
to become discouraged even at the news of the loss of her father and
his ship “The Golden Victory.” The story of Katryntje’s life was
interwoven with the music of the Trinity Bells which eventually
heralded her wedding day.

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^JEWEL:^ A Chapter in Her Life.

Illustrated by Maude and Genevieve Cowles.

A sweet, dainty story, breathing the doctrine of love and patience
and sweet nature and cheerfulness.


Illustrated by Albert Schmitt.

A sequel to “Jewel” and equally enjoyable.


Illustrated by Rose O’Neill.

The “Clever Betsy” was a boat--named for the unyielding spinster
whom the captain hoped to marry. Through the two Betsys a clever
group of people are introduced to the reader.

^SWEET CLOVER:^ A Romance of the White City.

A story of Chicago at the time of the World’s Fair. A sweet human
story that touches the heart.


Frontispiece by Harrison Fisher.

A summer haunt on an island in Casco Bay is the background for this
romance. A beautiful woman, at discord with life, is brought to
realize, by her new friends, that she may open the shutters of her
soul to the blessed sunlight of joy by casting aside vanity and self
love. A delicately humorous work with a lofty motive underlying it


An amusing story, opening at a fashionable Long Island resort, where
a stately Englishwoman employs a forcible New England housekeeper to
serve in her interesting home. How types so widely apart react on
each other’s lives, all to ultimate good, makes a story both
humorous and rich in sentiment.


Frontispiece by Harrison Fisher.

At a Southern California resort a world-weary woman, young and
beautiful but disillusioned, meets a girl who has learned the art of
living--of tasting life in all its richness, opulence and joy. The
story hinges upon the change wrought in the soul of the blasè woman
by this glimpse into a cheery life.

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The “lonesome pine” from which the story takes its name was a tall
tree that stood in solitary splendor on a mountain top. The fame of
the pine lured a young engineer through Kentucky to catch the trail,
and when he finally climbed to its shelter he found not only the
pine but the _foot-prints of a girl_. And the girl proved to be
lovely, piquant, and the trail of these girlish foot-prints led the
young engineer a madder chase than “the trail of the lonesome pine.”


Illustrated by F. C. Yohn.

This is a story of Kentucky, in a settlement known as “Kingdom
Come.” It is a life rude, semi-barbarous; but natural and honest,
from which often springs the flower of civilization.

“Chad.” the “little shepherd” did not know who he was nor whence he
came--he had just wandered from door to door since early childhood,
seeking shelter with kindly mountaineers who gladly fathered and
mothered this waif about whom there was such a mystery--a charming
waif, by the way, who could play the banjo better that anyone else
in the mountains.


Illustrated by F. C. Yohn.

The scenes are laid along the waters of the Cumberland, the lair of
moonshiner and feudsman. The knight is a moonshiner’s son, and the
heroine a beautiful girl perversely christened “The Blight.” Two
impetuous young Southerners’ fall under the spell of “The Blight’s”
charms and she learns what a large part jealousy and pistols have in
the love making of the mountaineers.

Included in this volume is “Hell fer-Sartain” and other stories,
some of Mr. Fox’s most entertaining Cumberland valley narratives.

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Large 12 mos. Handsomely bound in cloth. Illustrated


A breezy wholesome tale, wherein the love affairs of Chip and Della
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Cecil Grantham, who turns out to be a big, blue eyed young woman is
very amusing. A clever, realistic story of the American Cow-puncher.


A lively and amusing story, dealing with the adventures of eighteen
jovial, big hearted Montana cowboys. Foremost amongst them, we find
Ananias Green, known as Andy, whose imaginative powers cause many
lively and exciting adventures.


A realistic story of the plains, describing a gay party of
Easterners who exchange a cottage at Newport for the rough
homeliness of a Montana ranch-house. The merry-hearted cowboys, the
fascinating Beatrice, and the effusive Sir Redmond, become living,
breathing personalities.


Here are everyday, genuine cowboys, just as they really exist.
Spirited action, a range feud between two families, and a Romeo and
Juliet courtship make this a bright, jolly, entertaining story,
without a dull page.


A vivid portrayal of the experience of an Eastern author, among the
cowboys of the West, in search of “local color” for a new novel.
“Bud” Thurston learns many a lesson while following “the lure of the
dim trails” but the hardest, and probably the most welcome, is that
of love.


“Weary” Davidson leaves the ranch for Portland, where conventional
city life palls on him. A little branch of sage brush, pungent with
the atmosphere of the prairie, and the recollection of a pair of
large brown eyes soon compel his return. A wholesome love story.


A vigorous Western story, sparkling with the free, outdoor, life of
a mountain ranch. Its scenes shift rapidly and its actors play the
game of life fearlessly and like men. It is a fine love story from
start to finish.

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Full of originality and humor, kindliness and cheer

^THE OLD PEABODY PEW.^ Large Octavo. Decorative text pages, printed
in two colors. Illustrations by Alice Barber Stephens.

One of the prettiest romances that has ever come from this author’s
pen is made to bloom on Christmas Eve in the sweet freshness of an
old New England meeting house.

^PENELOPE’S PROGRESS.^ Attractive cover design in colors.

Scotland is the background for the merry doings of three very clever
and original American girls. Their adventures in adjusting
themselves to the Scot and his land are full of humor.

^PENELOPE’S IRISH EXPERIENCES.^ Uniform in style ^with “Penelope’s

The trio of clever girls who rambled over Scotland cross the border
to the Emerald Isle, and again they sharpen their wits against new
conditions, and revel in the land of laughter and wit.


One of the most beautiful studies of childhood--Rebecca’s artistic,
unusual and quaintly charming qualities stand out midst a circle of
austere New Englanders. The stage version is making a phenomenal
dramatic record.

^NEW CHRONICLES OF REBECCA.^ With illustrations by F. C. Yohn.

Some more quaintly amusing chronicles that carry Rebecca through
various stages to her eighteenth birthday.

^ROSE O’ THE RIVER.^ With illustrations by George Wright.

The simple story of Rose, a country girl and Stephen a sturdy young
farmer, The girl’s fancy for a city man interrupts their love and
merges the story into an emotional strain where the reader follows
the events with rapt attention.


       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *

Errors and Inconsistencies

French words are shown as printed; misspellings were assumed to be
intentional. The same applies to proper names, except when the error
was clearly typographic. The publisher’s advertising section is shown
as printed, retaining all errors.

Variation between “3d” and “3rd” is unchanged.

Main Text

  Copyright, 1912, by / THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY  [Copyright.]
  ate and ate until they went to her head.  [_final . missing_]
  ... a hungry little nine-year girl  [_unchanged_]
  I really do love to write to you. ... Would you like me
    [_the “r” in “write” and most of the word “me” are invisible_]
  Princeton commencement and our examinations  [Princton]
  Amasai and Carrie got married last May
    [_unchanged: everywhere else spelled “Carrie”_]
  “DEAR MADAM, / “Mr. Smith prefers that you remain at Lock Willow.
    [‘DEAR MADAM,]

Advertising Section (Uncorrected)

_Missing or incorrect punctuation is not listed._

  The stage version is making a phenominal dramatic record.
  a bewitchingly innocent, hugable little maid
  G. & D. Popular Copyrighed Fiction  [_this page only_]
  of delightful humor and spontaniety.
  the soul of the blasè woman
  play the banjo better that anyone else
  Two impetuous young Southerners’ fall under the spell

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