1898, January 31 – Letter from Rosalie Bauwens to Lewis Hesse

Rosalie continues the saga with Otto and Julie, asks Lewis to stop calling her “skinnie”, and shares with him how she longs for him.  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.


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      Letter Page 3


Transcript of letter:

St. Louis Jan. 31, 1898

Derest Lewis:

I received your lengthy but most welcome letter of the 29, this evening I came home from work.  I will try to answer it sentence for sentence and then tell you about myself, although it is now after 9 oclock and I am awfully tired and am feeling anything but well.  First you say you celebrated my birthday with a grand spree, well I choose to guess “wit”, and that’s a good thing for you, Lu.  I celebrated my birthday in pur loneliness, nobody even thought of my birthdya.  in the afternoon about 4 oclock Mamie with the baby spent an hour with me that’s all, she sends her best regards It was a lonesome evening, and I went to bed early.  I hopoe you will find a suitable boarding place.  All I can say to you about your work, Lewis, is as long as you got your good health, hustle, Lewis, hustle if you only have the chance to do it.  You will be doing no more than I am.  every chance I get.  The thing I don’t like about your work is that it’s night work and if you get deeply in that work you might always keep it, and gracious Lewis that would be terrible.  A home made fit Lewis is something that I cannot go into the preliminaries about on paper.  I would have to be with you to explain.  I think you saw me in one once in a while when I’d take a good hard fist of hair from the back of your head and rub your ears, and punch you and end up by giving you a good shake and hug, can you ever remember having seen me in a home made fit?  Lewis, you must not call me “skinnie,” I won’t have it, I know I’m awfully thin, but then you must not addressme merely as skinnie.  I have names enough you bad boy.  it makes one feel bad, and it don’t sound a bit nice.  If the wind happens to pick me up and carry me off, I’ll see to it that it don’t take me to Chicago you bet, no matter where else it takes me, rest assured.  Say, do you know if I had you here this minute, I’d box your ears soundly, young man, for picking up my most careless words (I must say they were most careless and could nicely been left unsaid, but I never thought how it sounded till I read it over and then I was fool enough to let it go unscratched, I’ll know better next time than you) yes, picking up my careless words and furthering them as you did, great goodness.  I was telling you everything just as it was, never thinking till I read it over, then I thought, oh well he won’t further it.  So that you cannot mistake what I mean, I’ll say I have reference to the comparison that I made in my letter between Julie & I with regard to my thinness.  Now drop this I’ll know better next time, and watch myself so I won’t write anything that can easily be furthered, and afterwards make me angry.  Jack C. said very little about your going away.  I’ll not forget about the regards the next time he calls.  I hope you rested well those two nights you had to sleep.  And felt find for another weeks work.  Now to Julie and Otto, all I can and will say, is that once a good while ago, perhaps you remember, when I had the blues so bad, and I told you it was about a false friend I had found out, well I had reference to Otto, the other one, for I told you there were two, was Julie; at the time, Otto told a certain man friend somthing bad in regard to Julie, and somehow it came to my ears, and it almost made me sick because things seemed to correspond otherwise, to lead me to believe, what I heard.  to stand a very good show at being true.  I never todl July about this, nor talked to any one else about it except those through whom I heard it, and that man friend O. told it to, don’t know that I know anything about it, neither does Otoot himself know that I know it.  Well knowing what I did, and then seeing how things went on when I wrote you that letter and Julie’s actions at the time led one to believe something else, but I am glad to say that in this last I was mistaken, for Julie came to the house Sunday morning at 10 oclock, and stayed with me all Sunday until half past 8 in the evening, and I know any last fear is wrong.  I dictated a very strong note that she sent to O. and I think I can safely say she drops Otto all together.  She is trying hard to get a place to live out.  When she succeeds I will tell you where she stays.  I don’t want to talk on that subject any more unless it is absolutely necessary, please Lu.  Now Lewis darling, I know you must be lonesome, but take consolation and just remember that you are not the only one. Sunday, although Julie was here all day I longed for you so, dear. So much so that I had a hard fight to keep down the blues in the evening Julie was just gone when Clara S & Louie B. calls.  They were surprised to see you gone, and Clara said she believes we will never marry.  Well they did not stay long.  till 9:30 I got to bed at 10 and slept well.  This morning I went to work, but I had a time of it to stay there, but I pegged it out.  This evening I wen twith Ida in the biter cold to the doctor’s, the boys wouldn’t take me although I offered to pay them.  Lewis every bit of my money is gone again for sickness, I now have 3 different kinds of medicine.  Well I must try and make this letter close for I am so tired and it is half past 10 oclock I won’t get to bed till after 11″ tonight.  You talk about feeling funny and not caring to go anyplace, well I am right with you.  I do hope things will help me along a little better.  for I don’t see for any part how one will keep up courage till Spring.  I never forget to pray for you dear, see tha tyou don’t forget me.  The folks all send their best regardsa nd good wishes, Well about reading between the lines I will tell you next time, I must have more time to study your letter.  This letter came 11 o’clock this morning.  I think I have answered all of your questions, except one.  You ask if I wish you were with me and kiss me as you used to, well Lewis all I’ll say is that when evening comes I long for you, and the vacancy your absence makes, makes my heart shrink to 1/3 its size, that’s the way I feel about it dear, is that answer enough?  Well dearest good night and a kiss for you, darling Lewis

from Your very own


Good night Lulu I’m so tired.


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