1898, April 24 – Letter from Rosalie Bauwens to fiance Lewis Hesse

Rosalie wants to compare the war mementos she got from George to the one that Lewis got from him, she is thrilled that Lewis is working 10 hour days instead of nights now, and St. Louis remains wild over the war effort.  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

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Transcript of letter:

St. Louis Apr. 24, 1898

My own dear Lewis:

Your letter of the 21 received last night and its contents was read with pleasure.  It is now 11 o’clock Sunday morning and I just came home from church, and I prayed for you dear, so that God might give you strength, keep you in good, good health, prosper you at work, and keep you from all accident and harm, see?  I am as nervous as a bug this morning, I can hardly write decent.  Well I must now answer your letter.  How large is the shell you got Lu?  I guess by this time you have a letter also, stating all about it.  Is it another relic of the “Maine” haha.  Those relics are getting quite numerous amoung George’s friends especially, don’t you think so too dear?  Oh, Lewis, my own dear boy, you must take better care of yourself, I do hope your poor thumb is no worse than you wrote me it was, but I have an idea it is, am I right?  Now Lewis take good care and keep all dirt away from the sore part of your thumb so that it may heal nicely and that the clogged or clodded blood don’t give you blood poisoning.  Take good care to keep your stomach in order and that will naturally help your blood along nicely see dear.  Now dear please don’t laugh at my advises.  They are the best I know to give you and I mean it good.  Lewis you dear old darling, you don’t know how glad it made me feel when I read that you had gotten day work for steady and a better job at that, I was so glad that you did not have to work nights any more, that as soon as I finished reading it I knelt right down and thanked God for His goodness and asked him to be with you always.  And Lu dear I am thankful to you for sending me that encouraging news right away, for I needed it dear; even if it is ever so little, send me any encouraging news you can see Lulu.  Lu, are you working 10 hours a day including the dinner, making it only 9 hours real work and 1 hour for dinner, or are you working for 10 whole hours and an extra hour for dinner?  I’m so glad you will be able to get a nice warm dinner every day too, and then 10 or 9 hours work is a good deal different than 13 hours and then you can sleep at night there is a great advantage in that too dear.  I feel so glad over your little luck, I just wish I could give you a good good hug, do you know it?  I know you are laughing again, and if I was there I’d give you a shaking for doing so too, see?  Now you dear old bug house, just take good care of yourself and work too hard and if only war lets us alone, there would be a chance of enjoying the little clear patch in our sky of apparent darkness.  I’m going to stop writing just for a little while so that I can look up the mornings war news.  The whistles and bells and cannon were making a constant noise last night and there may be some important news this morning that I might be some news I can talk to you about, so over the water dear for about 20 min or so, are perhaps longer for dinner is almost ready.  Well dearest the paper is newsy, and I could talk to you a good deal about it if I were with you.  We have taken a few real good prizes in capturing Spanish merchantmen, but on paper I cannot talk about it and write about it as I ahve not the time and paper to spare.  But although lots of people say war won’t last long, I think it will.  I hope to goodness I’m thinking wrong about it though.  Gee whis Lu, I’m just shaking with a genuine chill, I’m cold as ice.  I guess I need some quinine.  Well dear I will now tell you about myself since Friday night.  Saturday was spent in the usually exciting way, for the town is wild as far as war is concerned, and keeps one in a consent fidget.  Well I went down town at 4 o’clock, and got me two real nice wrappers that the dressmaker that bodged my dress will have to redeem herself by making desent for little or nothing, yes dearest I am buying every week things that I’ll need later on adn by & by I will have all I need. Both the boxes are packed full & I must get me one other.  My doctor’s bill is making a nice little headway too, if I can only stay well dear.  Well in the evening I went to Mamie P. to have her go with me to the dressmakers but she was visiting a neighbors with Lewis P. and the baby and they insisted on my coming in and spending the evening just as I was; in a wrapper in a strange place.  But they were very nice people and I soon felt at home with them and enjoyed till about 11 o’clock.  Well I must eat my dinner now and it is 1 o’clock, see?  Well dear I just finished a good dinner of potatoes, letus, pickles, stake, bread, cake & coffee.  it tasted good, but I shook like a leaf with a good chill while I was eating and I’m not over it yet, either.  But I don’t feel bad, in fact I feel better than for the last week, in a little while I will have red cheeks and be good and warm, but that won’t last long.  I have no ache or pain just now, and I hope I will get along better now.  I’ll take some quinine, see dear?  Well I will have to stop writing now as I must get dressed and go to Muldner’s.  Mr. Muldner was up at the office yes. ternoon and insisted on my coming, but I guess I’ll have to go alone as Julie sent me a postal telling me she couldn’t go.  They seem rather anxious for me to come.  I think they wanted to be somewhat of a rubber neck, but they will get out of me just waht I have thought about 10 times over, and then only what I want them to know see dear?  Well it is half past 1 now and I must do a good deal of work before I go to Muldner’s.  So I’ll have to close because I don’t want to come here just in time for supper see dear?  I send you a little piece of the ribbon that I have a little bow made of, that I wear above a little silk American flag.  Wear this little piece for it is cut of the end of the piece I wear see?  Well take the best of care of yourself and always remember me first for I might get very jealous if you should give even a thought to some Joliet girl.  Well Lu dear I must stop now, write soon.  So with a good hug and lots of kisses I will remain as always your ever true and ever loving and very own Rosalie

xxxxxxx Dody

I hope you are able to read the terrible scribbling – Dody

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