Of all those arts in
which the wise excel,
Nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.
Duke of Buckingham
I had meant to write my Theme on her, but I learned in time that she was forty years of age. Her work is therefore done. She has passed her active years, and I consider that it is not the past of American Letters which is at stake, but the future. Besides, I was more interested in the Drama than in Literature.
Posibly it is owing to the fact that the girls think I resemhle Julia Marlowe, that from my earliest years my mind has been turned toward the Stage. I am very determined and fixed in my ways, and with me to decide to do a thing is to decide to do it. I am not of a romantic Nature, however, and as I learned of the dangers of the theater, I drew back. Even a strong nature, such as mine is, on occassions, can be influenced. I therefore decided to change my plans, and to write Plays instead of acting in them.
At first I meant to write Comedies, but as I realized the graveity of life, and its bitterness and disapointments, I turned naturaly to Tradgedy. Surely, as dear Shakspeare says:
The world is a stage
Where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
This explains my sinsere interest in Mr. Beecher. His Works were all realistic and sad. I remember that I saw the first one three years ago, when a mere Child, and became violently ill from crying and had to be taken home.
The school will recall that last year I wrote a Play, patterned on The Divorce, and that only a certain narowness of view on the part of the faculty prevented it being the Class Play. If I may be permited to express an opinion, we of the class of 1917 are not children, and should not be treated as such.
Encouraged by the Aplause of my class-mates, and feeling that I was of a more serious turn of mind than most of them, who seem to think of pleasure only, I decided to write a play during the summer. I would thus be improving my Vacation hours, and, I considered, keeping out of mischeif. It was pure idleness which had caused my Trouble during the last Christmas holidays. How true it is that the Devil finds work for idle Hands!
With a Play and this Theme I beleived that the Devil would give me up as a totle loss, and go elsewhere.
How little we can read the Future!
I now proceed to an account of my meeting and acquaintence with Mr. Beecher. It is my intention to conceal nothing. I can only comfort myself with the thought that my Motives were inocent, and that I was obeying orders and secureing material for a theme. I consider that the atitude of my Familey is wrong and cruel, and that my sister Leila, being only 20 months older, although out in Society, has no need to write me the sort of letters she has been writing. Twenty months is twenty months, and not two years, although she seems to think it is.