Daddy Long Legs (Daddy Long Legs, page 4 of 76)


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Jerusha's guilty expression this time was not assumed.

'It seemed to me that you showed little gratitude in holding up to
ridicule the institution that has done so much for you. Had you not
managed to be funny I doubt if you would have been forgiven. But
fortunately for you, Mr.--, that is, the gentleman who has just
gone--appears to have an immoderate sense of humour. On the strength
of that impertinent paper, he has offered to send you to college.'

'To college?' Jerusha's eyes grew big. Mrs. Lippett nodded.

'He waited to discuss the terms with me. They are unusual. The
gentleman, I may say, is erratic. He believes that you have
originality, and he is planning to educate you to become a writer.'

'A writer?' Jerusha's mind was numbed. She could only repeat Mrs.
Lippett's words.

'That is his wish. Whether anything will come of it, the future will
show. He is giving you a very liberal allowance, almost, for a girl
who has never had any experience in taking care of money, too liberal.
But he planned the matter in detail, and I did not feel free to make
any suggestions. You are to remain here through the summer, and Miss
Pritchard has kindly offered to superintend your outfit. Your board
and tuition will be paid directly to the college, and you will receive
in addition during the four years you are there, an allowance of
thirty-five dollars a month. This will enable you to enter on the same
standing as the other students. The money will be sent to you by the
gentleman's private secretary once a month, and in return, you will
write a letter of acknowledgment once a month. That is--you are not to
thank him for the money; he doesn't care to have that mentioned, but
you are to write a letter telling of the progress in your studies and
the details of your daily life. Just such a letter as you would write
to your parents if they were living.

'These letters will be addressed to Mr. John Smith and will be sent in
care of the secretary. The gentleman's name is not John Smith, but he
prefers to remain unknown. To you he will never be anything but John
Smith. His reason in requiring the letters is that he thinks nothing
so fosters facility in literary expression as letter-writing. Since you
have no family with whom to correspond, he desires you to write in this
way; also, he wishes to keep track of your progress. He will never
answer your letters, nor in the slightest particular take any notice of
them. He detests letter-writing and does not wish you to become a
burden. If any point should ever arise where an answer would seem to
be imperative--such as in the event of your being expelled, which I
trust will not occur--you may correspond with Mr. Griggs, his
secretary. These monthly letters are absolutely obligatory on your
part; they are the only payment that Mr. Smith requires, so you must be
as punctilious in sending them as though it were a bill that you were
paying. I hope that they will always be respectful in tone and will
reflect credit on your training. You must remember that you are
writing to a Trustee of the John Grier Home.'

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