Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Shou Kie, Tientsin, May 21, 1923

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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Shou Kie, Tientsin, May 21, 1923


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Tsai Shou Kie, Tientsin, May 21, 1923


May 21, 1923.
Mr. Tsai, Shou Kie,
35 Race Course Road, Tientsin, China.

My dear Mr. Tsai:

Let me acknowledge the receipt of your letter of April 23rd, and the accompanying check for -500.00, to be credited to Kuo Fang’s account. The boy has overdrawn his present account pretty heavily, as the enclosed statement shows, and I am holding back for later payment several additional bills, including one for over $400.00 covering the final term’s expenses at the Mont Vernon school., I asked Kuo Fang to advise you of this situation, as I have not found it easy to get the time required to draw off a copy of the boy’s account as it appears on my books, to send to you. Probably he has done so by this time. His doctors’ bills last year, coupled with the infirmary and nurses charges, brought it to pass that his expenditures reached abnormal heights. Such a situation, I trust, will not occur again, though as I have already intimated, Kuo Fang has a way of purchasing goods that always seem to cost a little more than those secured by his fellow countrymen with us.

It is my impression that the boy will perhaps do best in a small college, and I have already written you to this effect. He himself favors this plan, indeed, is quite enthusiastic about it. We have talked of Bowdoin or Amherst, both of them colleges of high standard at the present time. Even if he takes a business course latter I should be disposed to try out this plan, for the good business schools are connected with our largest universities, and I am convinced that, for a year or two, at least, the complete freedom and distractions of university life would not re-act favorably on the boy. The smaller business schools are generally of an inferior standard.

I had a delightful visit a few days ago from your old friend, Mr. Wickham. We talked over the boy’s case very freely and fully, and are both agreed that the youngster has been passing through a somewhat unsettled stage, due in large measure to ill health, and that he ought to gain momentum in his work and development from now on. The latest reports from my brother at Mont Vernon indicate that this is so. He tells me that the boy has shown excellent spirit, and he hopes he may be able to gain admission to college this coming fall. Some very hard work will be required to bring this to pass, but apparently Kuo Fang is interested in accomplishing this at the present time and if this interest holds the goal may yet be attained. Of course, I am delighted at the prospect, though I confess that not many months ago I felt very dubious about the whole situation and, as you know, was inclined to recommend that Kuo Fang give up the American education. I know the boy was not induced to increase his respect for me because of my attitude, but I am rather inclined to think that, even if this was so, the position I took has helped somewhat to impress upon the youngster the importance of getting down to some good hard and steady work. If the results have proved worth while, therefore, I am willing to accept my medicine in the loss of favor on the boy’s part, even though I deeply regret that I have occasioned him any change of feeling towards me.

Mr. Wickham told me about his wonderful visit with you, and the enthusiasm he displayed when relating the various incidents attending his visit was a delight to


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


May 21, 1923


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