Did you ever hear of Michael Angle?
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 [(1862-1949)梅特林克，比利時劇作家，是象徵主義戲劇的代表作家。], and I asked to she was a freshman. That joke has gone all over college. But anyway, I’m just as bright in class ass 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 (secondhand for three dollars) and a rattan chair and 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[高年級學生在畢業離校前，把自己不需要的物品拍賣。]. 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 roommates. Sallie thinks everything is funny―even flunking―and Julia is bored at everything. She never makes the slightest effort t be amiable. She never makes the slightest effort to be amiable. She believes that if you are Pendleton, that fact alone admits you to heaven without any further examination. Julia and I were born to be enemies.
And now I suppose you’ve been waiting very impatiently to hear what I am learning?
I.Latin: Second Punic War[第二次迦太基戰爭，羅馬與迦太基之間的戰爭，時為西元前218-201年。]. Hannibal[(西兀元前247-183)漢尼拔，古代迦太基奴隸主階級的戰略家之一。] and his forces pitched camp at Lake Trasimenus[在義大利境內，西元前三世紀的羅馬戰場。] 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[＜＜三劍客＞＞，法國劇作家、小說家大仲馬寫的歷史小說。] 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,
PS. I hope you never touch alcohol, Daddy?
It does dreadful things to your liver.
I’ve changed my name.
I’m still “Jerusha” in the catalog, but I’m “Judy” everyplace 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 the could talk plain.
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[嬌生慣養。] 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 form 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-bye.)
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 yeas 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.
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 feeling when I criticize the home of my youth? But you have the upper hand[占上風。], 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 relate to a past that everyone 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 know it. I could fell ”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 the them―the charitable ones most of all.
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 bid 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!
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 said?
“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 charitable.”
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.