This is from Jean Webster's Daddy-Long-Legs (1912):

Anyway, there he was, sitting in the reception room very proper with his hat and stick and gloves beside him; and Julia and Sallie with seventh-hour recitations that they couldn't cut. So Julia dashed into my room and begged me to walk him about the campus and then deliver him to her when the seventh hour was over. I said I would, obligingly but unenthusiastically, because I don’t care much for Pendletons.

But he turned out to be a sweet lamb. He's a real human being—not a Pendleton at all. We had a beautiful time; I've longed for an uncle ever since. Do you mind pretending you 're my uncle? I believe they're superior to grandmothers.

What does Judy mean by the sentence in bold?

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    I believe the protagonist is an orphan, so she has no relatives. She has heard that children often have a special relationship with their grandmother - or with an uncle, which she has heard is even better. Feb 14 at 9:11

1 Answer 1


Well, in an earlier letter she wrote...

Should you mind, just for a little while, pretending you are my grandmother? Sallie has one and Julia and Leonora each two, and they were all comparing them to-night. I can’t think of anything I ’d rather have; it ’s such a respectable relationship. So, if you really don’t object—When I went into town yesterday, I saw the sweetest cap of Cluny lace trimmed with lavender ribbon. I am going to make you a present of it on your eighty-third birthday.

So she initially thought grandmothers were great. Then she meets "Mr. Jervis Pendleton," likes him a lot, and feels that she wants to be related to him as well. Since he can't be her grandmother, she decides that she wants him as an uncle. That last bit is probably a reference to the earlier part.

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