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Donald D. Smythe
Professor of Geology.
Peiyang University
Department of Geology
Tientsin, China

Erma Smythe

January 13, 1924

Dear Erma:-

I have finally gotten your Christmas present but will keep it for you here as it is so hard to pack. It is a Russian samovar and a beauty. I have seen a good many since I came here but never one like this. Most of them are pretty much cylindrical as to body but this one is urn shaped and fluted. I picked it up in a brass shop. This chap had found it in a pawn shop and was replacing the chimney which had been lost. The candlesticks I have been too busy to get off. It takes nearly a day to get a package started on its way as well as a trip to town. You will be using them here anyway.

Last Sunday I was in Peking attending the meeting of the Geological society of China. I have been elected a fellow but that doesn't mean a great deal. Didn't do any sightseeing while I was there, too busy. Got a line on Helen B.P. She's starting out to be a good crook. She has gone to Nanking and will not return to Peking. She dropped me a note saying she was coming through on the train but I had a class and could not make it.

It seems she signed a lease on a house which was given her as a special favor at a low price. When she found she was to go to Nanking she told the owner nothing about it but got another family, notoriously crooks, to take it over (the lease specifically stated she was not to sublet) and skipped out. So did the other people without paying the rent. When the owner spoke to her about it and asked about her signature on the lease she held she replied "What's a signature anyhow?" I had it direct from the owner who was my predecessor as Prof. of Geology here. I don't think we want anything to do with the Pryors.

We have been having a beautiful winter, much like Colo. Spgs. but less snow. Have had some skating.

I am enclosing draft for $50.00 will send more soon but I am rather short as I had to buy a lot of things and also the trip to Peking.

Thanks for the Outline. Haven't had time to do much with it. Your mothers' candy and socks came. Just in time to wear to a formal dinner. Also got a letter from Don.

The first semester ends here on Jan. 14 and the second starts in Jan 15. I have a hard schedule next term. Twenty two hours, six eight oclock's and one day I have eight hours. Classes from 8 am to 5 pm. Too much. Have been able to get along pretty well but am waiting until Chinese New Year to get things in good shape. C.N.Y. is Feb. 5. We will have vacation from about Feb. 1 to 15th. This will give me a good chance to get my laboratories straightened out and my lectures written up.

Has Darl's husband gotten his job back again? Looks as if we left S.D. in time. Got a letter from Tom Westgard. Things look bad. We should worry. We are fixed for the next six years or more.

We are all wondering what will happen in the spring, it looks as if there was going to be some more war. They never fight in the winter time but as soon as spring opens up they begin.

I don't feel very talkative this morning so good bye.

With lots of love,

Thought you were going to Grass Valley?

Sunday Evening
Dear little wife:-

Just happened to think of that silver I told you about in the last letter. You won't need to get all of it as there are a lot of things the native silversmiths can make here. Native designs too. I had a friend out to tiffin today. A German boy who came over on the boat with me. He is supporting his parents in Germany, he told me today that he sends twenty pounds of food home each month. Seems very bitter toward the French but likes the English and Americans.

I am beginning to get tired of this semi-bachelor existance. Will be glad when you can come. I think that one thing the matter with us is that we are childless. China is a good place to remedy that.

With lots of love,