Thursday, July 11, 2013

Love Letters

As I noted in my recent essay for The Paris Review Daily, Amy Ella Blanchard had at least one serious love interest before she committed to Ida Waugh. His name was George Bartlett and he was her cousin. Among the papers I have from Amy there was one large bundle tied with a scrap of twine. I figured that these letters were from an assortment of her many correspondents, but they weren't. They were long, detailed, passionate letters from cousin George. I have been transcribing them and every day I find a new line that pulls me in. Here are a few excerpts:

"You say as you are a woman , you cannot have the right to speak as a man. This is a mistake, as leap year is an exception. Speak as a man “My Girl”. 

"Is every month to be more weary, in 1875, still I will remember for encouragement when you seemed a little weary and when your surroundings were hardly all you could wish. And they changed for the better + brighter did they not little singer. And so as usual I must look to you for encouragement."

"This is a perfect day outwardly, but inwardly to some it must be dark. Like Alice Cary in her poem, “My Window Just Over The Street,” I can think of only horrible things to-day; the fire last night, families of the dead firemen, Fanny Davenport’s great loss. Life seems rather of a knotty tangle, such a razzle-dazzle, such an enigma. I am weary trying to explain it to myself."

"Your simple and bewitching Quaker letter was duly received, and very much appreciated.  You seem to be quite happy in your old age. I trust such a state of mind will soon come to me, and we will happily toddle along down hill, if not together, at least in sympathy."

And this letter I just had to publish in full, underlining, misspellings and all:

My Darling Cousin,

I am tired and weary in mind and body-- it is a beautiful Sunday morning though one of the last of the year -- have been on the Cars all night, I have written you ten thousand pages since I received your “inspiration” and now I seem unable to work even a page or two. I know not how to commence -- my heart over flows to you --
Your letter came like a messenger from the Angels bringing to a hungry soul.  Comfort love and the sweet sympathy that I so much needed -- needed more than you will probably ever know --

Amy my dearest be happy in your (quiet) home -- you are nearer to God these. And in the heavenly world you will shine a beautiful spirit and grand -- Silk dresses and (Carmages) go not there -- but your noble nature that through poverty and suffering is growing so much more beautiful day by day will in the end bring you a home that is rich and great--(here) will envy -- I would willingly go with you this moment over them. My “jamboree” in Lexington was a sick bed -- but away with melancholy -- This is my first visit to St. Louis - it must be a very bad place as the Theaters are open at night. (Sunday night- I mean)

Yours “sick adrift + afloat- a barren wafe of a heart” My Darling Ella you are growing nearer - and I am growing nearer + nearer to you-  George

1 comment:

craftivore said...

Wow, now there is a letter. How terrible that the art of it is now gone.