It’s over—Father’s visit is. He has been gone a week, and it will be a whole month before he can come again. He has to divide up between Mother and the girls and me, and he can only get away once in two weeks, because his partner is ill and business has something the matter with it and has to be watched, which is why he could stay only four days in Twickenham Town. I don’t see why fathers have to work so hard, and why wives and daughters must have so many unnecessary things, and such big houses and so many new clothes and automobiles and parties and pleasures, which aren’t real fun after you have them. But most women seem to want them, and keep on scrambling for what other people scramble for, and only a few have sense enough to see how foolish it all is and stop. Maybe they are wound up so tight they can’t stop. I don’t know. I only know I do not want to live the life a lot of women I know live, and I am not going to do it.
I wish Father could see it the way I do—about working so hard, I mean—and I think he might, for he says I am a chip off the block and he is the block, and in almost everything we feel alike; but there’s Mother and the girls, who care for things I don’t care for, and of course they must have them. He gives them everything they want, but he looked so awfully tired the day he came I could think of nothing else the night he left, which is why I cried so under the sheet, and then when the tears were out and I felt lighter I got up and wrote him a long letter and told him I loved him so it hurt, and that he was the best and dearest father on all this big, big earth, and if he would let me come and keep house for him I would fly back. But he wouldn’t let me come. He wrote me a letter, though, that I shall keep with my treasures, and I wish what he said was so. It isn’t so. He just thinks it, but it does your heart good to know somebody cares an awful lot about you and no matter what you do is going to stand by. What he wrote me was this:
Dear little Nut-brown Maid all mine, of course you would come, but you mustn’t. It is too hot and you need what you are getting, and nothing could help me here so much as to know of that wonderful color of yours and that you are so well and strong again. That you are getting health and happy memories for the winter of work and study ahead is the best tonic I can take, and every morning when I go to my desk I get out that little picture of you and, nobody being by, I kiss it and send you my love, and it is a breath of life-giving air to know you are mine. Since the first time I saw you—you were exactly one hour old and laughing even then—you have been the joy and delight of my heart, and I can’t afford to run any risk with summer heat and the joy of my heart. I didn’t deserve you, for I wanted a son so badly, and was fearfully disappointed that you were not a boy. You seemed to understand