1898, February 14 – Letter from Rosalie Bauwens to Lewis Hesse

Rosalie writes about what will happen to Lewis if he forgets her, the dreams she has been having about her ex-boyfriend Dan, and how she & Ida both still have a serious cough.  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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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


Transcript of letter:

St. Louis Feb 14, 1898

Dearest Lewis:

I just got through reading your letter of the 13th in which you use so much bad language about the weather, you dear old darling bad boy, you must not get bad habits, you hear.  Well now to answer your letter.  You write that I should not think you are forgetting me, well dearest forgetting me, well dearest I don’t think that, although many think you will.  But I won’t let myself be forgotten see; Just try to forget me, if you dare, you dear – well I am not going to call you any names – just let me find out you are trying to forget me, and see how quick you will have substantial proof of my existance.  You see Lulu, I am not forgetting you either and most all of my wake moment are taken up by thoughts of you, that’s no lie either.  But sometimes when I go to sleep I wish you might figure in my dreams so that I could see and speak to you, but no use trying you won’t come to me even in my dreams.  I’ll tell  you more of my dreams later on.  The weather has been mild ever since I wrote you about it being cold; yesterday (Sunday) was a splendid day only windy.  Lewis dear I will now tell you about myself from Friday evening till this very moment, see?  Friday evening I went to bed and dreamed of Dan, he seemed to have come to St. Louis, and came right to my house.  I was angry, because he wanted to talk to me.  And I told him to go way, nobody told him to come.  But he went and talked to mamma and when he came to me again he said mamma said he did not have to go way, but could come when he pleased.  I asked ma if that was true adn she told me I should try to like him again as he had all kinds of coin and meant it good with me.  The coin and his good will seemed to have made everything alright by ma.  Well Lewis dear, I won’t write here what I in my dream answered mamma on that.  But nothing helped me, Dan was always on my heals, asking me to give you up and take him, promising me everything.  No matter what I said or did he would not let me alone.  I woke up several times during the night and I’d try my best not to dream again but no more than I closed my eyes he was there pleading with me again.  Oh I was in an awful fix.  everybody stuck to Dan. Say but he was swell, I must say.  I woke up Saturday morning and spent a pretty good day at work.  I did a little shopping.  In the evening I intended to go to Clara’s but just as I was about to go Louie & Clara stepped in and Julie came in a little later.  They staid a little while then went to the market.  I asked Louie about some tie goods and he said he’d try and get you some.  I then went with Julie to Jennie’s.  Julie isn’t working yet, and is somewhat discouraged, but if she don’t change her ways about looking for work, she’ll never get any.  Well Julie only staid a little while and then went home, and as I’m a coward on the street after dark, after my adventure, Will took me home after a while.  After I said my prayers, read my little book and sat thinking for sometiem of you dear, and I prayed for you too just as I do every evening.  I went to bed and slept, but no sooner than I was good and asleep there was Dan again with the same old story.  Well Lu it seems as though I get kind of amused and make  up my mind to have all the fun out of him I can.  make him crawl in the dust if I can, and then tell him to go where it was hot.  And Lewis dear I went to theater with him, and everything was so plain that I can almost remember the whole play.  But Lewis you old darling I was true to you even in the dream, for I wouldn’t let him come within three feet of me.  Well Sunday morning I slept late, but when I did get up I felt good.  I begun to clean the house and wash and dress myself, at 2 o’clock I stood at the front door for a while and talked to Minnie V. and Herman W. across the street.  When I came in, mamma was about to go to the doctor’s with our Ida who has been real sick for the last few days and is nothing but skin and bones, this evening she is a littel better, she coughs a good deal too.  Wel ma & Ida start out and I am left all alone, oh Lu.  I can’t get used to you being away from me, I miss you more and feel it worse daily.  Well soon Aunt Mamie comes in and before long she says “guess what Rose, I got a letter fro Molly, and they all send their best regards.”  I thought it awful funnie, but said nothing just then, later on when she said Dan was getting along fine and getting more like himself agin, I told her about my dream.  Well when Mamie went home, about 5 oclock, she said I should dress and go along, if it was only for the car ride, well we got down there and I thought Frank would shake the hand off of me after he found out you were gone.  He said “That’s number 2 Rosa, he has gone in the same direction Dan has,” you see he was trying to hurt my feeling.  I said I knew better, that in the whiel you are gone you had written more than Dan had in months and months.  He said “Oh well that’s for first a while, he’ll soon slack off, take my word for it.”  Then he spoke about Dan; and when I came home I had the blues for true.  After saying my prayers I went to bed, but I could do nothing but think and sleep didn’t come to me till after 12 o’clock.  This morning I did not feel extra well but I spent a passable day at work.  When I come home, they todl me there was a letter for me.  I opened it and just glanced over it and put it away till after supper then I read it.  adn here I am ever since, answering it.  I am eating an apple and I wish I could let you have a bite.  Say dear, if I had an apple and you had a bite, what would you do?  Lewis you darling old fellow, you say I should keep up courage.  I try, but dear I find it a hard struggle, everyday I feel more lonesome, then I feel as though I can find no rest no where and I’d like to run adn run as far as my limbs will carry me.  Oh well, I’m going my best, but it’s hard work dear.  Oh Lu, dear please don’t think me lunie writing to you like this, but I am full to the throat and overflowing with – oh I don’t know, but if you were here just ow, you dear old darling bad – oh dogonit – I know you’d have reason to think I was good and crazy.  Oh your mean to get me to care for you, and then make me so lonly.  Beg pardon dear you can’t help it.  I believe I’ll have to quit writing for I got the blues and I’m afraid if I read this letter over, it will sound so crazy I won’t send it.  So I better cut it short.  The folks send their best wishes and regards.  With best love and a lot of kisses darling I remain

Your own


I am feeling a good deal better, but I am still thinner than you ever saw me dear, my cough is getting better but slowly.  My side pain bothers me a good deal too.  I am taking red wine 4 times a day for strength.  God bless you Lewis, good night.  write soon.  Your own Dody


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