MY EARLIEST AND BEST AMERICAN FRIENDS
MR. AND MRS. GEORGE L. JEWITT
OF NEW YORK
Dear People Over There --
I send you this book knowing that you will understand (among other things) how deep and sincere is my love for America, and how much I owe to Americans of that heart-gold which alone does not take to itself wings and fly away.
There are several sorts of your countrymen and women in this story — all in their way as charming as I love to remember you two — that is, all save one.
I suppose there are bad Americans. I read the New York Sunday World and seem to have heard of such, though possibly they may have been of foreign extraction. But the mean American I had neither heard of nor yet read of, till we three met him together under the glittering stars of the winter Engadine.
I am certain that neither of you have forgotten Mr. Kearney Judd and the development of the various delightful traits of character which I have attempted to describe in these chapters. I remember with joy your own pregnant reply to that young gentleman's boast.
"I am not often taken for an American!" he said, and smiled.
"When you are, for heaven's sake don't give your country away !" said one of you; and the young man stopped smiling.
But enough of Mr. Judd. I send you this across the Big Water to certify that though the years and the fates divide, there are hearts over here that warm at the thought of you both. The gods who watch over friendships bring us to our next happy meeting!
S. R. CROCKETT
Penicuik, March 28th, 1899
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First serialised in 'Woman at Home' as 'The Woman of Fortune' in 1899.