1898, April 20 – Letter from Rosalie Bauwens to fiance Lewis Hesse

War is officially declared & Rosalie recounts the reaction in St. Louis, including the closure of all libraries.  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

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Transcript of letter:

St. Louis Apr 20, 1898

My dearest Lewis: –

Your very welcome letter of the 19 just read dear and I was real glad to get it too.  Well I will now answer it as best I can.  Say Lewis if you have any snap shots to throw at birds or any to spare I mean, why just don’t forget me and let me have one of the snap shots see? – Well Lewis when I wrote the above, it was 7 o’clock, but I had to stop as the young man I give lessons to came and I had to tend to him.  Then 2 of Jack’s friends, & Jennie & the baby, and Ott and Mamie P. & her sister Josie and Julie came and I was stopped half way in the lesson and so I can’t charge anything for it and I will have to allow him another lesson.  That is just how it goes you see, well it is half past 9 now and the folks have all left, so I can give my attention to the one I much rather give it to see dear?  Ha, ha, dearest, I see plainly that you know just a little more about the value of a nickle, well may your experience do you good my poor Lewis.  If I were only near you I would try so hard to make everything easier for you, and everything would be, or seem to be, so much easier for me too.  But it can’t be dear and we must both make the best of it.  If only good health sticks to us it will come out alright, but my health is bum at best, here lately.  Yesterday afternoon I thought I’d have to come home, I had such awful cramps, and in the evening I could do nothing but lay down, but to-day I am feeling a little better.  But dear I am so thin I can hardly keep the rings on my fingers.  But I guess I’ll be alright again now, I think I worry too much and have the blues too often, if I got out more and got more exercise it would help me too.  Oh well, talking about it won’t help, so I guess I’ll quite on that subject see dear.  You are real kind dear to offer to mend my shoes, but I guess that’s a pretty long distance to send shoes to a shoemaker, so I guess I’ll keep them home, much obliged, nevertheless, ha, ha.  Lu old boy, I’m so sorry you must work so hard, you don’t know how it makes me feel when I’d like to help to make it easier for you and I can’t even talk to you.  Now Lu dear you mustn’t work to hard even if it does help you save more, for if you should over work yourself and you’d get sick, then, what?  That letter of Dr. Cook’s is encouraging and will do you good, but dear, read it when you feel good and rested sometime and you will appreciate it more.  Lewis, Dr. Hinchy is everything that is required in the line of respect, and no doubt he means it the very best with me, but he is too straight in telling a person what he thinks ails them, and makes one feel unspeakably cheap especially when told before others, that’s all dear.  Mr. Muldner spoke nicely to me when he was up at the office and sends his best regards to you, but he said he didn’t like the idea of you having left the city and said he thought you should come back.  He said nothing of Hot Springs, but Julie has a letter from there saying they are all well and getting along fine.  The little baby’s name is Martha Muldner.  Lewis dear it just made me feel sick when I read that G.V. had sent for you to come to work again and you had not slept a wink, I could have cried for you.  I felt so sorry.  I do hope Lu you won’t get sick and that you will sleep good and sound when you do get a chance.  I wish I could do something for you.  Anyway I can ask Got to help and bless you, and I will too.  Well, I’ll try and tell you about myself since Saturday now.  Well Sunday morning I went to church and prayed for you and in the afternoon I went with J. Will & the baby up N. St. Louis to see some folks that Will knew, but they were not home so we came back and when we came back we talked war for the rest of the evening.  Monday I went to work and in the evening the boys went out but Irish Dan came, and I got his picture by the way.  As soon as I can I’ll send you the proof, maybe if I can sneak it in this letter I will, but be sure you return it by next mail for I don’t want any one to know I tell you anything about Dan see?  Well Tuesday evening I felt too sick to sit up and Wednesday was a terrible exciting day for all.  For dearest at “Half past 10 this morning, WAR WAS DECLARED against Spain” and the excitement in the street up town was great, and every house in the city, I believe has flags out of the windows.  Yes dearest we are living in exciting times.  God help us to get through them in safety.  But you see dear all this excitement don’t help me along very well especially with side-pain.  Well the folks at the house this evening and all of my folks also send their best wishes and regards.  I am feeling a little better this evening, but I must soon stop writing for as it is 11 o’clock and I must not stay up too long as it don’t do me much good, see dear.  so with ever so many kisses and a good hug I will always be true to my own true lover.  Pray for me Lu dear and I’ll pray for you.  God bless you dear and keep you safe.  So with another hearty kiss goodnight.  Your own true Rosalie.

P.S. Lulu is well and sends her love.  Julie & I are going to Muldner’s Sunday.  Oh by the way, the mayor of the city by order of the Governor got orders to close all libraries during war time, and no one is allowed in the buildings of public libraries.  Good night darling.  Your very own Dody.

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