Letter from Alfred Stearns to Chung Ying (C.Y.) Sun, Tientsin, November 5, 1920


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Letter from Alfred Stearns to Chung Ying (C.Y.) Sun, Tientsin, November 5, 1920


Letter from Alfred Stearns to Chung Ying (C.Y.) Sun, Tientsin, November 5, 1920


My dear Mr. Sun:

Now that the members of your family have been with us long enough to get acquainted a bit, at least, and I myself have had a chance to come to know them, I feel that you ought to have a word from me by way of report at least. We are still living in such absolute confusion at my house, owing to somewhat extensive repairs that are being made, that my only wonder is that the youngsters have not grown utterly discouraged and been ready to seek another home. They have borne the order, however, splendidly, and with the finest spirit, and I am hopeful now that within the next two or three weeks at the latest we shall be able to give them some idea what the interior of an American home is really like. If they have not already formed some strange opinions on this subject I should be very much surprised.

Let me say at the outset that I have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy even more keenly as the days go on, the presence of those bright and responsive children in my home. In using the word children I do not mean to include Arthur, who is a man in more than years, and on whom I feel I can lean and with whom I can consult with confidence and immense profit. I don't know when I have met a boy who has impressed me so favorably as has Arthur as a boy of character, stability and poise.

The youngest members of the family are also entitled to their full share of commendation. Their faults, if they have any, are only those of youth so far as I can judge. Charles inspires affection. Thomas, though a bit impulsive and occasionally disposed to sulk, is at heart sound and increasingly responsive. Mary has won the affection of us all and fits beautifully into the home life, where no one could be more cheery, responsive and helpful than is she. At present the boys are taking their at the house. This is because of the complications involved in the servant question, which is always a very difficult question in this country. I am still hoping, however, that a bit later I may be able to keep all three of the children with me for all the meals.

From all I can gather the three children are doing well in their studies at the public school. The first reports of the term have not yet come in but I have reason to believe that they will prove in every way satisfactory when they come. All three seem keenly interested in their studies, though they are a bit digressed to make too free use, in their private conversations, of their mother tongue, for the best and quickest comprehension of the English language. In due season I count on them to appreciate for themselves the desirability of strengthening their English by a more constant use of it, without in any way lessening their knowledge of and love for their native tongue.

Please understand that this is a brief report only, and a little later I hope to write you more fully, though I have no doubt that the children themselves will keep you informed from time to time of their work, life and progress. If there is anything in these reports to suggest that I can, by a clearer appreciation of their needs and problems, be of further and greater help to them I shall count on you to advise me with the utmost frankness, for it is my earnest desire to co-operate in every possible way in order that the American experience and education of your boys and girls may be best advanced, and that the great sacrifice which you and they are making to this end may bear fullest and richest fruit.

With kindest regards believe me always,

Very sincerely yours,


Alfred Stearns


Phillips Academy


November 5, 1920


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