STONE GATE, WORCESTER,
Your letter is here. I have read it twice, and with amazement. Do I
understand that Jervis has given you, for a Christmas present, the
making over of the John Grier Home into a model institution, and that
you have chosen me to disburse the money? Me--I, Sallie McBride, the
head of an orphan asylum! My poor people, have you lost your senses, or
have you become addicted to the use of opium, and is this the raving of
two fevered imaginations? I am exactly as well fitted to take care of
one hundred children as to become the curator of a zoo.
And you offer as bait an interesting Scotch doctor? My dear
Judy,--likewise my dear Jervis,--I see through you! I know exactly
the kind of family conference that has been held about the Pendleton
"Isn't it a pity that Sallie hasn't amounted to more since she left
college? She ought to be doing something useful instead of frittering
her time away in the petty social life of Worcester. Also [Jervis
speaks] she is getting interested in that confounded young Hallock, too
good-looking and fascinating and erratic; I never did like politicians.
We must deflect her mind with some uplifting and absorbing occupation
until the danger is past. Ha! I have it! We will put her in charge of
the John Grier Home." Oh, I can hear him as clearly as if I were there!
On the occasion of my last visit in your delectable household Jervis and
I had a very solemn conversation in regard to (1) marriage, (2) the low
ideals of politicians, (3) the frivolous, useless lives that society
Please tell your moral husband that I took his words deeply to heart,
and that ever since my return to Worcester I have been spending one
afternoon a week reading poetry with the inmates of the Female Inebriate
Asylum. My life is not so purposeless as it appears.
Also let me assure you that the politician is not dangerously imminent;
and that, anyway, he is a very desirable politician, even though
his views on tariff and single tax and trade-unionism do not exactly
coincide with Jervis's.
Your desire to dedicate my life to the public good is very sweet, but
you should look at it from the asylum's point of view.
Have you no pity for those poor defenseless little orphan children?
I have, if you haven't, and I respectfully decline the position which