Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Arthur Sun, Boston, February 11, 1927


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Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Arthur Sun, Boston, February 11, 1927


Letter from Alfred E. Stearns to Arthur Sun, Boston, February 11, 1927


Dear Arthur:

I have your letter of February 8 and the accompanying telegram from Mary. The telegram I am returning herewith, but I can’t quite understand what it meant. The reference to her room is wholly unintelligible to me. Just what is it all about?

I had a letter from your father, written December 23, and I quote from my reply to that letter:

"Arthur had already written me of your expressed wish that he should remain in this country for another year to continue practical work. He is much distressed over your decision and has begged me to do what I can to encourage you to feel that he should be permitted to return to China at the end of this current year. Of course I am not in a position to assume any authority in a matter of this kind; so that I am only expressing the wish that Arthur has voiced to me, a wish which I have no doubt he has already conveyed to you as well.

At just this moment it happens that Mary has shown pretty vigorous symptoms of home sickness and has voiced to me and others her earnest desire to be permitted to return to China this coming summer. She wrote me that her work was getting out of her reach and that she feared failure. Believing that her mental condition had something to do with it, I wrote to Dr. Sze in Washington asking if he would kindly investigate through some of his friends in Elmira the exact situation and advise me accordingly. Dr. Sze was good enough to do this and sent me for examination a letter received from one of the officers of the institution from whom he had sought information.

From the letter in question it would seem that Mary's work is not beyond her reach, that she is making a good, though not brilliant, record in her studies, and that her present depression is due, in part at least, to a somewhat run-down physical condition attended by a cold. Miss French, who wrote to Dr. Sze, assured him that Mary was having every possible attention and care and that there was good reason to believe that her cold would soon be mastered and her physical condition generally improved. With such a change we are all hoping for a better attitude on her part.

Isn’t it just possible that the upset conditions in China have influenced your father’s attitude? Isn’t it also possible that you may be able to secure more on the subject from Minister Sze in Washington? I imagine that the Minister is in fairly close touch with the situation in China end can perhaps interpret better than I can your father’s attitude.

I like the idea of a night course at Boston University, provided you do not allow this to become too heavy a strain on your time and strength. That won’t pay. I am enclosing check for $39.00. payable to the Boston University Treasurer, as requested.

I also enclose check for $20.00, which I understand is what you require for the balance of the month to supplement your income on the job. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you get any further light on Mary’s situation. Evidently she is magnifying her own difficulties for the letter which the Dean wrote Minister Sze indicates that she is doing her work in a satisfactory way and has no occasion to be unduly anxious about the results. Apparently homesickness is at the bottom of it all.

Faithfully yours,


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


February 11, 1927


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