28, Avenue Laplace
My Dear Stuart,
We are overjoyed at your generously long letter. We have been rather worried about you since your reticent Xmas card from Spain. We thought that your indignation at the Fascist terrors might have made you join the Spanish Republican army on leaving Oxford. In that case, the world would certainly gain a hero, but we might (O horrible thought!) lose a friend. You can imagine our relief to hear from you again.
We are very, very sorry indeed to hear about your viva. we do hope that it will not be prejudicial to your chances of getting a job. As your favorite Walter Raleigh used to say, Oxford final schools and the Last Judgement are two examinations, not one. You are quite right to take the whole thing lightly.
We shall be here for another four or five months yet. My scholarship expires this August, and we shall sail home in September. Not that we have homes to return to! Our houses, spared by the shell-fire, have been looted and gutted of all their valuable contents. Our respective families have taken refuge in mountains honeycombed with bandits. My wife lost her mother, and I myself have no prospect whatsoever of getting decent jobs in China. Still, one's lot is with one's own people; I don't mind roughing it a bit. The revolution of the Fortune's wheel might bring us up, and, as Goethe was fond of saying, abwarten Sie. You see, I spare my own patriotic heroics.
Yes, my clairvoyant Stuart, I have been working entirely on my own. I have tried to read French literature systematically downwards, beginning with Villon, and already got as far as the mid-nineteenth century. I have also laboriously tackled the German romantics. I am reading Taine's novel Graindorge and Novalis's Fragmente. Besides, I have not neglected my English and Chinese studies. I am reading——no, I am not going to tell you my reading debauches. This paragraph reads already like a snippet from that model letter of a schoolboy to his parents (" or parent according to circumstances") in Anstey's Vice Versa.
The baby is burstingly fat. She already boasts of six teeth (each tooth meaing a week or so of worries and sleeplessness on her part as well our own). She is very naughty and mutinous and self-willed, altogether an ugly customer to deal with. She will be able to walk a little next month.
You are a disquieting feller, my dear Stuart. You always give me the impression of some impending catastrophe. Why this sudden "treachery' to your "former interests"? You seem to have a gout trop facilement degoute. Your mind seems to slough its idea as frequently as the snakes their skins. No doubt you will call me smug and incorrigible. Do keep me abreast of your lastest developments.
My wife sends you her best wishes, to which I say ditto. Write to me at your earliest convenience.
P.S. My wife wants me to tell you that the baby is really "her father's daughter". She loves nothing so much as books——to tear and nibble at, certainly not to read. She has already destroyed a German primer, not to mention innumberable tradesmen's circulars and booklets. She throws away her toys to grab at the books we happen to be reading.
得承认，你很有远见。我目前完全在自学。我在系统地用心读法国文学，从维龙（Villon）开始，已经读到十九世纪中期。我也在费力地啃一些德国小说。我在读泰纳（Taine）的 Graindorge（未见中文翻译）和诺瓦利斯的《哲学片段》Fragmente。此外，我也并未荒废英语和汉语的学习。我在看——不，我不告诉你我在看debauches(法语：艳情小说)。这段文字读来仿佛摘自Anstey的Vice Versa《父亲的教训》中小学生给父母的（或其中之一的，视情况而定）范例书信。
亲爱的Stuart,，你也不让人放心。你总给人一种大难临头的感觉。这次你对“旧的爱好”的“叛变”是怎么回事？仿佛你有种gout trop facilement degoute(法语，gout,口味；爱好，大意是有种爱改变口味的习惯)，你摆脱旧想法的频率犹如蛇蜕皮。无怪乎你称我是不可一世又不可救药。你可得让我跟上你想法的变化呀。