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 freshman. My English instructor stopped me on the way out form 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 it.
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 eight 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 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[(1794-1854)羅克哈特，蘇格蘭作家。] Life of Scott and the first volume of Gibbon’s[(1737-1794)吉薘，英國歷史學家。] Roman Empire and half of Benvenuto Cellini’s[(1500-1571)卻利尼，義大利雕塑家，著有自傳。] Life―wasn’t he entertaining? He used to saunter out and casually kill a man before breakfast.
So you seem Daddy, I’m much more intelligent that if I’d just stuck to Latin. Will you forgive me this once if I promise never to flunk again?
Yours in sackcloth,