I have some awful, awful, awful news to tell you, but I won't begin with it; I'll try to get you in a good humour first.
Jerusha Abbott has commenced to be an author. A poem entitled, `From my Tower', appears in the February Monthly--on the first page, which is a very great honour for a Freshman. My English instructor stopped me on the way out from chapel last night, and said it was a charming piece of work except for the sixth line, which had too many feet. I will send you a copy in case you care to read it.
Let me see if I can't think of something else pleasant-- Oh, yes! I'm learning to skate, and can glide about quite respectably all by myself. Also I've learned how to slide down a rope from the roof of the gymnasium, and I can vault a bar three feet and six inches high--I hope shortly to pull up to four feet.
We had a very inspiring sermon this morning preached by the Bishop of Alabama. His text was: `Judge not that ye be not judged.' It was about the necessity of overlooking mistakes in others, and not discouraging people by harsh judgments. I wish you might have heard it.
This is the sunniest, most blinding winter afternoon, with icicles dripping from the fir trees and all the world bending under a weight of snow--except me, and I'm bending under a weight of sorrow.
Now for the news--courage, Judy!--you must tell.
Are you SURELY in a good humour? I failed in mathematics and Latin prose. I am tutoring in them, and will take another examination next month. I'm sorry if you're disappointed, but otherwise I don't care a bit because I've learned such a lot of things not mentioned in the catalogue. I've read seventeen novels and bushels of poetry-- really necessary novels like Vanity Fair and Richard Feverel and Alice in Wonderland. Also Emerson's Essays and Lockhart's Life of Scott and the first volume of Gibbon's Roman Empire and half of Benvenuto Cellini's Life--wasn't he entertaining? He used to saunter out and casually kill a man before breakfast.
So you see, Daddy, I'm much more intelligent than if I'd just stuck to Latin. Will you forgive me this once if I promise never to fail again?
Yours in sackcloth, Judy