Alfred Kroeber: A Personal Configuration by Theodora Kroeber

By Theodora Kroeber

Frontis. + xi + 292 pp. with a variety of illus., octavo.

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Her parents were not given to moral assertions but Florence, the nurse, was. Florence had devised a punitive bogey who, she claimed, looked out of the nursery chimney-place when the sinful Sylvia’s back was turned. The child, thinking the goblin’s way of going about things odd, declared that she didn’t believe it. ‘As I slept in my nursery, this entailed an anxious night, since I had of course been assured that if I didn’t believe in him, he would soon pop out and show me I was wrong. ’27 This was more of a definition than a decision, as she had never had a great deal of Christianity thrust upon her, though she had had, in the usual course of things, a great deal of Church.

Eh I’ve got the wheep Maister Warner. Ye dropped it jist where we were pickin’ up the burds. Eh syne ye promised me saxpense whenever ‘a found it we hae na lost ane eh afore d’ye mind hoo’ many ye lost at Drumelgier. Eh a ken … – Good heavens Murray don’t make such a row. Why you’re enough to frighten every bird off the place. I wonder there’s anything left between here and Cnoe Moy – Murray! – Yes Sir. , when he wrote this. Nora, his fiancée, attended the graduation ceremony in 1891, thinking when she saw him enter the theatre that ‘immediately everyone else looked shapeless and uncouth’7 by comparison.

When I was asked to explain myself, I took my stand, rather aggrievedly, on reason. Had I not asked my mother what adultery meant? Had she not explained that it was the sins of the flesh? ’15 The lessons in the attic proceeded from the Bible to geography, history, French and Shakespeare. Some arithmetic was attempted, but informed innumeracy was a family failing, and Nora not the best teacher of this subject. Most educative of all to the young girl were Nora’s stories of her distant girlhood in Madras.

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