1898, March 12 – Letter from Rosalie Bauwens to Lewis Hesse

Rosalie writes to her “bad boy schnaderfratz” about their future little home together, her type setting job, the growing possibility of war, and corrects the former rumor that George was AWOL from the Navy.  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 2-3      Letter Page 4-5     Letter Page 6-7     Letter Page 8


Transcript of letter:

St. Louis March 12, 1898

My own dearest Lewis:

Your short but dear and welcome letter of the 11 (?) received and read.  Lewis you say you have been having damp wet weather lately, well, we are in about the same fix here, and I tell you I take such good care of myself these days so that I won’t catch a new cold and so that I may harden up, I’m so tired of doctoring.  Lewis dear, I am almost afraid to say it, for fear I may lose again, but I weigh 105 lbs again, and am feeling better than I have sine I’ve been sick.  Now don’t feel too good about this dear, for we don’t know how long it will last, see?  You say dear that one day is like another to you, well Lewis you are not alone in that, there is but little change in my days also, but never mind, we have one thing left us and that is hope.  Lewis dear, you say you wish you had a home of your own don’t you?  Well, I say ditto most heartily.  See here darling, I wouldn’t care how long or how slow this little home of yours (and mine of course) was in coming, just so it came; if I wasn’t so delicate, see dear if you couldn’t make it possible to have a little home, as you call it, before the hot summer sets in, and it would be necessary for me to stay at type-setting through the hot months, being as delicate as I am to start with, Lu dear, it would be a question if you had a Rose when fall came to have a “little home of your own” for.  Dearest, don’t think I’m joking, I never could stay long at the case without sickening, and I’ve been at it steady a year and 4 months now.  Well dear I’ll try and write about something else and change the subject just for the present.  Lewis, you ask what I think of the club house, well dear candidly, I must admit, from the circular it seems to be a very nice and convinient place.  But you ask me in a plain question what I think of it and I answered you plainly, except, that I have not gotten quite over my first dread of the place I don’t know why it is dear, but such is the case.  I guess I’ll get over it by and by.  You should not have done your best, (as you said you have done) in trying to get R. to call on me.  I certainly would like to know and see what kind of a fellow he is, and also talked to some one who associated with you daily, but if he did not care to come, all right.  I would not have asked him to call if I had not thought that he wishd to be asked, for, why, did he send me – a stranger – his best regards, and got you to tell me he was gonig to be so near my neighborhood.  I certainly understood your letter that way or I never would have asked him to call.  Those orange peelings, you bad boy you, came from the orange, and the orange came from the “daygo”, where he got it I don’t know.  all I do know is that it tasted good, and as I could not send you a piece of the orange I chipped off a bit of the peelings and sent you a taste of that.  Are you satisfied on the orange question, you dear old inquisitive bad boy you?  Well Lewis, war looks serious just now, and I think now that if we have any war, it will be a general one, for it seems as though other nations won’t keep their feet out of the sand.  If we do have war, my feelings of us never getting married, that I so often told you about, may be realized.  But for heaven’s sake I hope things won’t come to such a terrible pass dearest.  Well Lewis, Thursday evening I croched all evening.  I wanted to sew but I found that I wasn’t strong enough just yet.  I slept well that night and felt alright at work next day, the boss was a little off though, but he got over it before evening.  Friday evening i went over to J’s for about an hour, from 7 to 15m after 8, and Otto saw me home.  Otto left George H’s address at his mother’s home and as he is angry with his folks he can’t get it.  He said G. was in Mobile, Alabama when he heard from him, that was the 19 of last month.  The date of Otto’s letter shows that the rumors about G’s deserting before the 19, and Otto was supposed to address his answer to the U. S. Navy a certain ship, Ott forgets the name of the ship.  I guess by this time he has changed his locality again as they are constantly ordering the ships about.  I wish I knew the name of the ship he is on, but Ott does not remember.  Well to-day was a nasty day, sloppy and raining and foggy.  I did not go shopping, for I did not want to risk my health.  I came home, had my supper, entertained for a while 2 of Jack’s friends and when Jack went away with them I sat down at the center table to answer your letter, and here I am still and it’s 10 o’clock.  I guess you are long ago in the land of dreams and rest, little thinking that your Rosalie is still writing to you.  Well dear I am going to close this letter now, as my back is beginning to ache, adn I am getting sleepy.  I am going to pray real hard for you dear, so that you will have better luck, and that God will have things turn out all right in the end.  Pray for me also Lewis, especially for good health and courage.  As long as I have those two I can pull myself through financially.  Well dearest schnaderfratz, you far away bad boy, I wish I could have you with me once in a while, but that’s out of the question.  Well good night Lewis dear be good to yourself and to me to, don’t let no harm happen to you.  So with very best love and a kiss I remain

Your own true sweetheart


P.S. The folks all send you their very best wishes and regards.  Good night dearest

Your Dody


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