Letter from Charlie Sun to Dr. Alfred E. Stearns, December 7, 1932


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Letter from Charlie Sun to Dr. Alfred E. Stearns, December 7, 1932


Letter from Charlie Sun to Dr. Alfred E. Stearns, December 7, 1932


Service de Protocole, Wai Chiao Pu, Nanking, December 17, 1932.

Dear Dr. Stearns;

Your most kindly letter reached me a long time ago, but between then and now many things happened which had kept me pretty busy. A summary of my personal march of events will perhaps give you an idea of what had passed since I wrote you last.

After a month’s stay in Shanghai last June, I went back to Tientsin to my old home town for the first time after many years. There I lived three happy months with my parents. But the question of getting a job presented itself to me, and after many attempts and through the good offices of my former colleague in the Chinese Legation at London, I was successful in obtaining a position in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as stated above. So at the end of September, after having attended Tommie's marriage in Tientsin, I sailed south for Shanghai, where I was put up at Arthur’s house. Here something very sad happened; namely the death of my brother-in-law, Mary’s husband, to Whom she was married in the previous summer just after my landing in Shanghai and at whose wedding I acted as the bestman. I need not trouble you with the details of his illlness that led to his sudden and tragic death, but suffice to say that he had an acute internal trouble, who was discovered too late for operation. He died after having been vainly operated on. Mary was in a state of collapse and my poor Dad was not far from been distracted by the blow. It happened that Mary's husband had not immediate relatives in Shanghai at the time of his death. Mary and Father were both disqualified for doing any real work, and as luck would have it, Arthur was taken ill at this juncture as well as one of his babies, which kept my sister-in-law at home to attend the sick ones. That left my kid sister and myself as the only ones who might give some help, and believe me, I had a hard time; because besides attending to the troublesome matters of a Chinese funeral, with which I was not at all farmiliar, I had to at the same time do my best to cheer everyone up, but chiefly Mary and my Dad. I had never had such a difficult time in my life, and my final examinations at Phillips were nothing compared with this. Finally, however, the mother and brother of the deceased arrived from Peiping and with the help of many kind friends, we were able to have the body ready for shipment to the north for burial. Mary went back with the body to Tientsin, where she now is, after having seen the burial. Poor Mary, what is she going to do! Only four months married and both of them so young. Dr. Stearns, it was certainly hard for me, who having not long been the bestman at their wedding to act not many months later as the bearer of the coffin of one of them. I hope you will write to Mary and give her a word of encouragement. You may reach her by addressing your letter to me.

After this tragic event in Shanghai I came to Nanking around the sixth of December and went immediately to work at the Ministry. My job, as the name of the Service indicated, consisted of protocols matters which includes a variety of things such as preparing formal banquets, meeting foreign diplomatic or prominent visiters to our capital, drafting messages of felicitation and condolence, etc; , etc. The work is fairly interesting and suits me, because it does not require much knowledge of Chinese. But I am not very satisfied with it in so much as it is a Government job, for which I have a strong dislike. Had it not been my father's repeated urging, I would not have re-entered government service. But to please him I am putting up with it, at least for the present. I hope some day, however, I shall be able to find something elsewhere.

As you will be spending Christmas in Europe, I wish to give you my greetings for the Season and best wishes for a good rest and trip around the Continent. It is too bad that you cannot manage to visit us in China, for I am sure that if you do, there are more many persons who will be ready to welcome old Dr; Stearns to their home land.

Tommy is now working at the Kailan Mining Administration in Tongshan near Tientsin; Arthur is still with the Shanghai Municipal Government; Frank is the sales manager of the China Radio Company at Tientsin; Quincy, from whom I have not heard since my return, is according to his father teaching at the Hangchow University at the City of Hangchow; Charlie Tsai I am sorry to say is not doing so well. He is in Tientsin working in the Railway office, but I fear he does not take his work seriously. The Yuan Brothers, William and Henry, their nephew Tommy, and Admiral Tu’s son, who had such a hard time at Phillips are all in Tientsin. William is connected with a cement factory; Henry is doing well at the Tientsin head office of the Kailan Mining Administration. Tommy Yuan is another rascal; he is doing nothing. I met Tu at a musical recital I attended last summer when I was in Tientsin, but I did not get to know what he is doing. Oh, by the way, I must not forget Dick Tseng. I heard he is now also married and is working with the British American Tobacco Company of China. His exact location is not known to me. Little Chan of Canton, whom although I have not seen for years, is, I am told, working in a Bank at Hongkong. He must be doing well too. This in short is all the P.A. news from China that I know of. I shall be glad to hear from you what is going on in Andover.

Ever sincerely yours,


Charlie Sun


Phillips Academy


December 7, 1932


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