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


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


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


Dear Arthur:

Thank you for your letter and for the enclosures. I will see that the bills are promptly settled. That of your dentist is heavy, of course, but dental operations are always very expensive things, as I know from my personal experience. In view of general charges made for this kind of work, I don’t think that Dr. Gibbons’s bill can be considered excessive.

Now about Mary. I don’t know quite what to say. She wrote me only a few days ago a letter very similar to the one she has just written you, and I answered it promptly telling her that I felt sure she was suffering, when she wrote, from her cold and consequent run-down condition and that she would see things in a brighter light when her health improved. I told her further that I had received no information from the college itself that would indicate that her work was badly off, as she protested. My impression is that she is homesick chiefly and that her other complaints are naturally exaggerated by this fact. Very possibly it may be worth while to take the matter up with Minister Sze, who, through his friends at Elmira, may be able to locate the trouble better than you and I can. I am going to write him along this line, anyway.

Your reference to Mary’s lack of frankness with you is interesting, because that is just what I have found myself in my dealings with her and it has troubled me not a little. When I happened to mention this once to one of the Abbot Academy teachers, I was given to understand that I was altogether wrong and that Mary was a model of frankness with all. Indeed I learned later that the Abbot authorities had criticized both Miss Clemons and me very severely and unjustly for intimating that this lack of frankness on Mary’s part as a weakness which had to be reckoned with at times and which it was our duty to help her overcame. Of course the attitude of the Abbot teachers only made matters worse, and that is one of the reasons that I have been a bit impatient with them ever since. Certainly the years of intimate contact in my home that I had with Mary gave me a better chance to judge her qualities, good and bad, than did the comparatively brief and irregular contacts which she had with her Abbot teachers. I had felt, though, that Mary had been outgrowing this weakness, and I am sorry to have you intimate in your letter that you evidently did not think so yourself.

I am returning Mary’s letter, as I assume you wished me to do. Please let me know when you hear anything further from her.

Faithfully yours,


Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


January 11, 1927


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