Daddy-Long-Legs/Letter 30

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7th April

Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

Mercy! Isn't New York big? Worcester is nothing to it. Do you mean to tell me that you actually live in all that confusion? I don't believe that I shall recover for months from the bewildering effect of two days of it. I can't begin to tell you all the amazing things I've seen; I suppose you know, though, since you live there yourself.

But aren't the streets entertaining? And the people? And the shops? I never saw such lovely things as there are in the windows. It makes you want to devote your life to wearing clothes.

Sallie and Julia and I went shopping together Saturday morning. Julia went into the very most gorgeous place I ever saw, white and gold walls and blue carpets and blue silk curtains and gilt chairs. A perfectly beautiful lady with yellow hair and a long black silk trailing gown came to meet us with a welcoming smile. I thought we were paying a social call, and started to shake hands, but it seems we were only buying hats--at least Julia was. She sat down in front of a mirror and tried on a dozen, each lovelier than the last, and bought the two loveliest of all.

I can't imagine any joy in life greater than sitting down in front of a mirror and buying any hat you choose without having first to consider the price! There's no doubt about it, Daddy; New York would rapidly undermine this fine stoical character which the John Grier Home so patiently built up.

And after we'd finished our shopping, we met Master Jervie at Sherry's. I suppose you've been in Sherry's? Picture that, then picture the dining-room of the John Grier Home with its oilcloth-covered tables, and white crockery that you CAN'T break, and wooden-handled knives and forks; and fancy the way I felt!

I ate my fish with the wrong fork, but the waiter very kindly gave me another so that nobody noticed.

And after luncheon we went to the theatre--it was dazzling, marvellous, unbelievable--I dream about it every night.

Isn't Shakespeare wonderful?

Hamlet is so much better on the stage than when we analyze it in class; I appreciated it before, but now, dear me!

I think, if you don't mind, that I'd rather be an actress than a writer. Wouldn't you like me to leave college and go into a dramatic school? And then I'll send you a box for all my performances, and smile at you across the footlights. Only wear a red rose in your buttonhole, please, so I'll surely smile at the right man. It would be an awfully embarrassing mistake if I picked out the wrong one.

We came back Saturday night and had our dinner in the train, at little tables with pink lamps and negro waiters. I never heard of meals being served in trains before, and I inadvertently said so.

'Where on earth were you brought up?' said Julia to me.

'In a village,' said I meekly, to Julia.

'But didn't you ever travel?' said she to me.

'Not till I came to college, and then it was only a hundred and sixty miles and we didn't eat,' said I to her.

She's getting quite interested in me, because I say such funny things. I try hard not to, but they do pop out when I'm surprised--and I'm surprised most of the time. It's a dizzying experience, Daddy, to pass eighteen years in the John Grier Home, and then suddenly to be plunged into the WORLD.

But I'm getting acclimated. I don't make such awful mistakes as I did; and I don't feel uncomfortable any more with the other girls. I used to squirm whenever people looked at me. I felt as though they saw right through my sham new clothes to the checked ginghams underneath. But I'm not letting the ginghams bother me any more. Sufficient unto yesterday is the evil thereof.

I forgot to tell you about our flowers. Master Jervie gave us each a big bunch of violets and lilies-of-the-valley. Wasn't that sweet of him? I never used to care much for men--judging by Trustees--but I'm changing my mind.

Eleven pages--this is a letter! Have courage. I'm going to stop.

Yours always,

Judy