Letter from Alfred Stearns to Chung Ying (C.Y.) Sun, Tientsin, January 19, 1923


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Letter from Alfred Stearns to Chung Ying (C.Y.) Sun, Tientsin, January 19, 1923


Letter from Alfred Stearns to Chung Ying (C.Y.) Sun, Tientsin, January 19, 1923


My dear Mr. Sun:

Let me thank you for your very friendly and interesting letter of November 28. I have delayed answering it in the expectation that the gifts mentioned by you might put in an appearance and so provide me the opportunity to express my appreciation after I had actually seen the articles in question. We are still hoping the missing presents will appear in due season, and the children in the meantime have been wonderfully patient in bearing their disappointment. Only yesterday I journeyed to Boston to sign the required papers at the Custom House in connection with the shipment of candies and fruits sent by Mr. Sheh many, many weeks ago. Those have only just arrived in Boston and will probably not reach their destination for another week or two, especially as our freight service is terribly upset just at present because of the excessively heavy snows and the necessity of giving preference to coal shipments over all other forms of freight.

Even if the gifts have not appeared, I can assure you how very deeply I appreciate your generous and friendly thought in sending them. They will be welcome indeed and they will always carry a unique value in my eyes in view of the sources from which they come and the spirit back of the gifts which started them on their long journey across half the world. You will hear from me later and more fully when they appear.

As to the children: They continue to be very satisfactory in nearly every way. Arthur appears to be mastering his work at the Institute, and the reports which I got are good. Lin is finding his task at the same institution very difficult. I think he pressed his desire for early admission a bit too far and would have done better to take another year in preparation. He is very hopeful, however, that he will get better reports this current term as he becomes more familiar with the work.

Thomas has found his Latin just a bit out of his reach. As he seemed to be making little, if any, progress in it and as his other work was suffering in consequence, I deemed it wise to allow him to drop the subject and take on some extra work in English and French. With this schedule I believe he will give us a good return. He has not Charlie’s alertness or ability to concentrate on the work at hand, though he evidently works with good spirit and pretty steadily.

Charles is, in my judgment, a rare boy and ought to go far. He has ability, he has poise, and he has a purpose. At the same time he enjoys thoroughly the outside activities of the school life and indulges in them to just the proper extent, fitting them into his general scheme of things and making them aids to, rather than the reverse, his intellectual achievement. Altogether he is most satisfactory and his development has been pleasing to us all. I say this with no disparagement to Tom, who is a year younger and not to be expected yet to have reached quite the point of development attained by Charlie.

Mary is still something of a problem. In most ways she is a very delightful member of the household. Her school work, too, has been of a steadily high character. Her teachers all speak well of her, and to me personally she has been as responsive and friendly as one could ask. Miss Clemons who necessarily handles Mary's more intimate problems does not find her task always an easy one, for Mary seems at times to resent the suggestions and advice offered. I suppose this is in part due to the difficulty she finds in adapting herself to American ways and customs. One of the things I have been most concerned about is that she should have a proper amount of fresh air in her room and exercise out of doors. Neither of these requirements is congenial to her and she will always find what seems, to her, at least, a good excuse to offer in order to avoid them. I am more than ever inclined to think that it may seem wise next year to send her away to a boarding school where she would have to accept the definite routine provided for all the school; though I must admit I don't like the idea of changing schools so much and I am not quite sure yet that the chances offered her as a boarding pupil at the present school are the best that can be found for her particular needs.

Excuse this somewhat rambling letter, but it is difficult to put on paper just what I have in mind. I only wish that we could talk the whole situation over face to face.

With warmest personal regards, believe me

Very sincerely yours,


Alfred Stearns


Phillips Academy


January 19, 1923


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