1898, January 25 – Letter from Rosalie Bauwens to Lewis Hesse

Rosalie is missing Lewis quite a bit & often gets the blues, but does manage to flirt a bit.  Also the boys send him a clipping from the paper as a joke.  Read a transcript of the letter below (original misspellings & all) or click on the image links to view the actual letter.  As you read the transcript of the letter click on the links to view information & images about what they are discussing.

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Click on a link to view the image: (some images can be further enlarged by clicking on them once they open)

Envelope Front     Envelope Back      Letter Page 1     Letter Page 2-3     Letter Page 4-5     Letter Page 6-7     Letter Page 8-9     Letter Page 10-11     Letter Page 12

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Transcript of letter:

St Louis, Jan. 25, 1897

Dearest Lewis –

I was so glad to recive your letter which came about 3 oclock this afternoon.  Well I have nothing to tell you about the scenery etc.  We had a pretty hard wind here Saturday night, but further than that we had no disturbances in the weather and have fine spring days so far.  I did not think you would get there so soon, but I guess you were glad to get to teh end of the long ride.  Lewis, if it is so cold, don’t forget to bundle your throat well before you go outside.  I wish you were staying nearer to you your friend’s house, so entirely along I hate to think you.  You say you went shopping, well how are the prices of things up there according # to here?  You say you had a headache, well I can sympathize with you, poor fellow, believe me.  All the fun you have with the girls working on 4th floors around your establishment, will be remembered by me & gotten even for. – see.-  Well, I’ve answered your letter so far, now I’ll tell you about myself, it’s a woeful story at best, I promise you.  Well Saturday morning when you left me, I hate to tell you how badly I felt, I did not have anything to scatter my mind as you had.  Momma & Ida slept on for another hour and the house was getting cold, but when they did get up things were soon comfortable.  I had a cup of hot tea but could eat nothing.  As soon as the house was warm I did my best to push your big chair near the window, and I tell you I was sorry I forgot to ask you to do it before you left, because it was such a job, however I fixed the pillows in place & got me a comfort and there I lay all day.  I had hopes to sleep because I only had hlaf hours sleep all night and you know how much I slept the night before, but no I was never so wide awake, couldn’t sleep no matter how I tried.  I tried to crochet, but that also proved a failure.  About 3 oclock Jennie & Myrtle came over and we began talking, of course, and we didn’t keep it up long before the boys were brought up because Mamma got a good chill going in the celar for coal.  There was a kind of ticklish conversation after that but was soon dropped.  But I heard of it later on, thank you.  Well Jennie went home promising me some nice soup of the next day.  She was scarcely gone when Robert Poleman, you know that short fat fellow stop in and sympathizes with me by talking the arm off of me till supper time, but my arm is alright again, don’t worry.  All day long I every now and then thought of you.  Ida got me her geography and I looked and saw how nearly a whole State divided us; and I follow up the track adn thought he might be here now and there and etc.  But when evening came I missed you sorely.  Mamie began fussing about what we had spoken of in the afternoon and blaming all the boys faults on me.  I told her she was trying to find fault and did not know how to get at it.  And then she fused at me for fare thee well, for I don’t know what all.  Till I felt so terrable lonely that I turned around and asked her to please give me a little peace.  I hadn’t eaten any supper, but I eat a few oysters and a small piece of bread for dinner.  I felt so weak & lonely.  That I cried myself sick, but they didn’t know it.  Well we didn’t say anything for about an hour, then mamma spoke so kind, but she had been complaining so to Jackie about how bad she felt and I knew it was so, that I did not have the courage to ask her help.  I found it necessary to give my arms and face a washing, for I had not washed all day.  I asked for pan & water several times but mamma forgets so quick.  and I wanted to get some fresh clothes on me so I might feel a little better and run better chances of getting some sleep, then I had to put glycerene on my breast, and I had a ?? to get Jack to get that for me, and then I had to stand my medicine adn such handy for the night, that would all take considerable time and work and I had no courage to ask of halep of the children they all cut a face if I only spoke to them.  Edd went out so he’s not counted.  All at once I thought I’d help myself, and with a strong will.  I had nearly all things done but a very few when Ida saw that I couldn’t find my old shoes and she helps me crawl around and look for them.  I just got the shoes on when I asked Jack to please give me the place ear the stove so that I could wash and I went to the wardrobe to get a last thing or two, when Jack gives me a nasty answer, and mamma only looks up, well any strength, courage & all left me, There was nothing near to catch, and I take a nice little fall for myself.  I did not exactly faint but was too weak to move.  Then everybody wanted to do most, and mamma got so worked up that she forgot till I was in bed that she was sick; I lay still for a good long time till I said I must get refreshed if I want to sleep. So mamma helped me and finally I got to bed for good.  only to find out as soon as I was a little quiet my eyes would half close & I’d see all kinds of shops & yards where you were supposed to go to work and I’d see in them new dangers, and I’d just be on the point to call you and tell you about it.  when I’d think don’t be a fool.  rouse yourself and try to sleep, right.  Once I saw a children on a swing almost ready to fall and I called they should be careful when my mamma said , what, and I told her I couldn’t sleep.  That is the way through this night.  Sunday morning I slept till 10, for I got some sleep to-ward morning.  When I woke I was free of fever and headache, and felt pretty well only for a terrible sore throat and pains in the breast from coughing which I do a good deal of.  Well I resolved to get up, try to eat, and harden up for Monday work.  For Ida siad Mr. H. told her if it were any way possible I should come.  Well I eat a little breakfast, and took a look at your delicious ginger snaps, but did not eat any, I fooled around the house till dinner time doing my best to stay up.  Jennie came with some fine soup and I eat a big plate of it, and consequently felt a good deal stronger, I asked J if I could come over that afternoon as I did not want to sleep.  for I wanted a good nights rest.  – Well dear fellow I must eat my supper now after supper I will tell you some more hope you won’t find it tiresome to read all my troubles – Well here I am again I’ve eaten a little sweet potatos, some liver, some bread & butter, & a cup of tea and enjoyed them.  Now to continue – Jennie’s & W. were going to Mamie Pullen’s and said I was invited.  I told them I might go there if I felt well enough when the time came.  Well about 3 oclock I asked Edd if he’d take me there.  Of course he would, ha, ha, – well I slipped a skirt over my wrapper put on coat hat & boah, and started out, but talk about missing you, well let’s skip that.  I came home at 8 oclock, having made a bluff at supper & enjoyment.  I got to bed as soon as I could & slept better than since I’ve been sick.  This morning mamma called me to go to work and I felt right well, but when I moved a little I felt a nameless weakness steal over me and I was up but about 2 minutes when I get teh cramps & backache so hard that I get back to bed as soon as I can, and send a note to Harrison that he should please get some young lady to hold my place for me for a week so that I may gain enough strength to help me stay at work when I come back.  He said he’s try to get someone and Ida will go up to-morrow and see if he succeeded & let him know how I am.  If he don’t get no girl I guess I’ll have to work to-morrow.  Well I lay around the house all morning listening for the mail man.  about 9 oclock he knocked and handed me only The Companion  and somehow I know it was foolish but I got the blues.  and could not rest at home, so I take my shams and went to Jennie’s, and told Ida who was home to bring me the letter if any came.  Well when 3 oclock came Ida came and handed me your letter, but it was so full of sleet and snow I felt a little chilled, I managed to get warm again and started right for home to answer it.  The reason this is so scribbled is because I wrote it all on a book laying in your big chair.  where I am now.  At present I am feeling alright, and if I got just a little stronger and my back pain left me I think I could work to-morrow.  Well dear don’t you think I told you enough about myself?  Tell me more about yourself next time. The folks are all well, mamma is considerable better, J, Will, & the baby are well and send their very best regards all my folks send their good wishes, enclosed you will find a little notice our boys would have me send you.  (the clipping was not in the letter)  haha They cut it out of a paper, you see dear they want you to come back with a good crop of hair.  By Joe, (excuse bad language) I do think I’ll never finish this letter, for here comes Julie, she’s looking for the money Otto took out of her pocket book.  She sends her very best love and good wishes and was glad you got there safe.  Well dear I must quit now, till next time.  the next time you write please put very plainly the address I am to send it to, I have to guess at it this time.  So Lusy good night, take care of yourself, don’t let no harm come to you.  pray for me I will do the same for you.  so with best love and a kiss, I remain

Your own sweetheart

Rosalie B.

Please excuse bad writing I am weak & nervous R.B.

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