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Gratitude to many
No one, we are sure, who has sent a check, with the thought, silent or expressed, that it might assist Mrs Collyer in making a home in Idaho, will grudge the gift, under the circumstances just described, now that she has had to abandon that enterprise. The tone of the letters that, in many instances, accompanied the checks, precludes any such possibility. They all breathed a spirit of unconditioned generosity and helpfulness.
A very great many took the trouble to thank us for the “opportunity” we had afforded them to testify their sympathy for Mrs Collyer and their appreciation of her heroism. More than one check was accompanied simply by the words, quoted from the editorial note: “It is not an appeal, but an opportunity.”
A well-known firm of lawyers sent a check for twenty-five dollars and an offer to conduct, without charge, a suit in her behalf against the steamship company. Not a few checks came in black-bordered envelopes, with a few lines to indicate they were sent in loving memory of dear ones who had passed away. One woman writes: “My son and his little four-year old bear were saved from the wreck of the Santa Rosa less than a year ago. In thankful appreciation of that, I am glad to send the enclosed check.”
One letter says: “I am only a little baby ten months old, but I am sure that, if I could understand, I should feel a very great sympathy for Mrs Collyer and her little girl.”
Eleven little girls, from three to eleven years old, held a fair, and sent the proceeds to Marjorie in a dear little letter, signed by all of them, with a separate loving message from each one.
Hardly a check came without some sympathizing or appreciative or cheering message. “May God’s blessing go with it”; “It was my birthday, and I was made so happy by my husband and family that I felt I might share it with this less fortunate woman”; “Her story touched a tender chord”; “I want something to make your burden lighter”; “Cheerfully offered, and I trust will be as cheerfully accepted”; “To help my plucky and unfortunate fellow country woman”; “To help brighten the future for you and little Marjorie” — these are but samples picked at random from the hundreds of letters.
The fund that Mrs Collyer has so unexpectedly to herself received will enable her to start a small business and to establish a home. We are sure that the best wishes of all her American friends go with her to England.
Letter from Mrs Collyer
My Dear American Friends:
My heart is too full of gratitude for all the kindness and sympathy and generous help you have showered on me and my little daughter for me to begin to tell you even a part of what I feel. The greatest comfort to me in my sorrow, my greatest support in the struggle I have made to carry out my husband’s wishes and to make a home for myself and Marjorie in this wonderful land, have been the way that God’s love for us has been revealed to me in the loving welcome and aid received from all the dear friends my story has made for us.
I do not feel able to tell you in detail how I was at last compelled to give up my cherished plans and to return to England. I must leave that task to another.
But I could not bear to have one of you feel that I am ungrateful or unappreciative of your goodness. It is only that the experiences I have been through have left me without the necessary strength to make the fight alone. In my dead husband’s name, and Marjorie’s, and from my heart, I thank you all.
New York, June 8, 1912
Top photo: Charlotte Collyer and her daughter, Marjorie, photographed for The Semi-Monthly Magazine Section just before they left New York to go to the Payette Valley, Idaho.