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The Clarence Darrow Letters

Ruby Darrow to Jessie Darrow Lyon, October 16, 1929

The envelope is addressed to Jessie Darrow and Blanche Darrow. Paul Darrow had three children: Jessie Darrow Lyon, Blanche Darrow Chase, and Mary Darrow Simonson.

Click on the image to view as a PDF. A transcription of the letter is on the right.

Dear Innocents:-

Don't think that he invented Esperanto- you see where Gramps really gets ideas[?] of spelling- and he hasn't "lernt" you all; besides the French that he caught off the children that he told you about there's another language here that is supposed to be " correct Inglish "- (in case you should ever care to - speak properlee" ;) besides— might want to make yourselves understood — at least — when you resume associating with Grandp— so it may be well for you to prepare to converse in terms now most familiar to his right ear that he is hearing with over here-, and avoid trying to make his left one " get " what you say in 'merican.

Also if he should write again- goodness knows what he'd spring- and whether you'd feel at home- by this time- with his line of latest in "ejucation"-- :You might acclimate yourselves to a few of the rauther ord'n'r'ly=used sentiments liable to cause a confusion of babble. He'll probably begin with "Bubble and Squeak" and you're apt to think they're a pair of new pet names for your two girls, naturally— but not Righto - as even well=bred (?) clerks— which is clarks) shout:- "Bubble and Squeak" is for waitresses' little ears only , which your croquettish grandper pretends to be crazy about- but they soon discover that what he really likes is just a bit of chaff- there being not a grain of anything in what he's been tittering-

and he tells them that he'll take sausage instead- because he never eats cabbage because he doesn't like it and he's glad he doesn't because if he did he might eat it and he hates it, you know- and says if they can pick out all the little pieces of cabbage chopped in the potatoes (which is what "bubble=and=squeak" is, you see—) he might try it once, only then he'd want to know just which part he'd be eating, the bubble or the squeak, which nobody seems to be able to find out for him- so he won't eat anything that noone can tell what's the name of, even. You know how fussy he is about what he eats.

We get good batons- (long, slim rolls)— pence apiece with buttah- ; crackers are unknown because all kinds are "biscuits" here- and what we call biscuits are buns. When we have fish we get a blunt fork and dull knife with that called "fish=eaters." The newspaper you borrow awhile is The Daily Mail to look at- but to listen to is The Daily Mile. Not on any bill=of=fare will you see ham- but if you order gammon to see what it's like you get delicious fried ham' yum=yum. If you want coffee you are asked "black or white"; if you want lemonade you order lemon squash; ice=cream is cream=ice, served with an ice=ladle- (a flat spoon) gingerale is gingerbeer,- rootbeer is rootlager; and grape ale is as tame as orangebrew— and, everybody moves in the bread=line,- "Hovis" brand being on all sides all over Great Britain in all kinds of ads.

Have just been (bean) about the shops- where- what we call " Fall Openings " are going on- the signs here reading Fall Fashion Festival -, Fashion Fair ,- General Exposition -, Modern Modes ; Recently Received Right Modes ; Closing=Down Sale ; Low values ; Special Offerings ; Undervalues ; Inside, the floorwalker is The Commissioner - who directs you to where you can buy: what we call beadstrings are beadchairs; shorter ones, necklets- what you call smocks- in fancy colors for housedresses are, here, overalls - and pyjamas are lounge = sets .

lace collars, vests- cuffs- etc.- are " made lace "; signs on counters say: "Refrain from touching." "Varying prices in this lot." "One price ass't" (assortment) "Reduction because overstocked."- "To close=out.-- In matching a color that " can't quit fit together " the sales woman will say: "This piece seems rather right, but that one is very wrong." And to any other customer who addresses her will answer: "Sorry;- serving " The size of gloves-gowns- shoes etc- etc.- are labeled "No. 6 1/4 fitting"--" Nos. of fittings- from 34 to 42." "Fittings from 4-AA to 7-C." --; Placard on counter will say, "Have a look at these opportunities." shoepolish is bootcream; rubber bands, rubber=straps. -

If I try on a scarf that the salesclark wants me to take, she says, flatteringly, "Oh topping !" or "Just ripping good!" and tells me that the tariff in her stock=department is under all the other shops, I'll find. If I ask for something they haven't she will say "We do not stock that live." If I thank her, but think it doesn't look on me as I think it might or should, she will say sweetly, "How extr' ordn'ry that you don't see how it becomes you." If the commissioners calls for any certain clark- the answer comes from somewhere- "Ayay!" The commissioner calls "Ah, There y'are!" to show that he heard- and for whatever is bought the little slip is called purchase=receipt. When I buy canned peaches for HIM— the lady=clark asks me if I want them tinned- glassed- or potted-

As I go out— and ask which way to turn to get to someplace- the answer is sure to be "To the Top of the street,- sharp to the right,- bear to the left at the bottom of the square,- follow the crescent, and keep straight (strite) along- an' you CAWNT miss it.!" If you suggest that it sounds like a long walk you'll be told that "Ah well it's a tidy stretch- but not worth the up and down into a bus, m'dear madam." So you walk your legs to smithereens til you take to spending a tuppence or thr'pence an' ha'penny- or even four'pence or fi'pence- which it never is unless bound for the north pole- because a farthings (1/4 of a pence) worth is more what it'll be. If you make an engagement for a haircut it is a booking : So is a reservation for a R. R. ticket, or theatre=ticket=or restaurant=table- etc- etc- And a seat at theatre is a stall and a box is a block of stalls .

A sight=seeing bus is a charabanc . The telephone=operator is the telephonist . When she is told the number to get she answers- "Very good- Hold on!" The sound that we call busy=signal is the one that gets you your call; the one that goes steadily is the sound that makes the telephonist say: "Your number is occupied." If you want "Information" you ask for the "Direct Inquiry Division." "For sale" signs here are "To be sold." "For rent" reads "To be let." If you own your house you have a freehold . If you rent it you have a leasehold . And an English pound goes just as far as a U.S. penny, about— Your gramp says.

Now I must 'ave a look at the (paper-piper)- and go about a lot of tiddily little things to be done. I see that another man has been run over by a motorcar. "It seems that he was rather given to giddiness and so toppled quite in the way of the motor and was most unavoidably shattered to death." I'm sure the driver must have automatically exclaimed the one word one hears all the time for every apology. " Sorrrry !" The answer to which is- in rushing by- "Grahnted." As Gramp' would say: No more this time- I'll tell you more in my next- maybe- but this ought to give you both much that no "finishing school" will- so call this a lot for another lesson, little girls, and believe me your fond Aunt Ruby.

I'm now going to clean a dress with motor=spirits which- at the filling station is called petrol.

Miss Jessie Darrow
- and -
Miss Blanche Darrow
5844Stoney Island Avenue