Dear Reader, this letter is from Emma, mother of Alice, to her sister Ella, mother of Leon.
Bemidji, Beltrami Co.
Minn. Dec. 19th, 1899
Dear Sister Ella-
I have been wondering why you did not answer my letter, but perhaps you are waiting for me to answer yours, as we both wrote about the same time. We are as well as common.
Christmas is over and New Years a coming. I hope you had a merry Christmas, though I think you must be lonely this winter with Maude and the boys gone. We tried to have a merry time Christmas, we invited all the relatives and we would have been glad if they had all come, but they wouldn’t and now if I write a little about matters, I wonder if Roseltha and Warfields’s folks will all have to read it first, if they do they may just stop right here---- But I do wonder what has happened to mar the friendship between Leon and Alice, or I should say to mar his friendship for her.
Before Alice came home Leon used to come here once in a while and acted friendly and sociable as ever, but since she came he has only stopped in once to get his pillow and blankets and when I asked him to come and see us, he said he didn’t have time, and I said I guess you will have time after your school is out, wont you? He replied, No, that he would be too busy then. I knew that Alice went up stairs and had a cry then, didn’t come down to eat any supper, and when she came down I knew from her eyes what was the matter.
Well before his school ended, she wrote a long letter to him, and invited him to come here to spend Christmas, it was so long before she got a reply that I knew she was anxious about it. Though she says nothing, and when Ruth came last Friday evening and told us Leon and Winnie were not coming for Christmas, she had another cry. Though she tried to hide her feelings from us. I knew she didn’t enjoy Christmas very well, and the next day Leon and Winnie went by going to town with wood but they never stopped, and we couldn’t make them hear so we could send the little gifts that were on the tree for them, so I think she had another cry.- she never tells me anything about it, but I told her, if she was troubled about anything, to make it a subject of prayer, and trust the Lord to make things right, but I have wondered what could be the matter.
I wonder if he was mad because she corresponded with her old schoolmate John T. Smith, a while. I asked her, whey he quit writing so soon when he had started the correspondence first, she said she didn’t suppose he would, if she hadn’t have given him a hint, that it would be better to drop the correspondence. Then I have wondered if she had refused Leon, because they were cousins, and had hurt herself the worst.
I remember I told her a few years ago, I didn’t think it wise for cousins to marry, but I don’t think there is anything in the law of God, or the law of Minn. against it, and if it should be that they love each other it wouldn’t be right for them to marry anyone else, and they will never be as contented to live single all their lives as to marry a worthy person they love, for though life brings its trials and responsibilities, yet the blessings of true love, more than compensate for trials, don’t you think so? at any rate I am thankful to God for my husband and children. and am glad I got married.
Now you see how my wits are all wool gathering, for I don’t know as Leon and Alice have ever thought of getting married, but I think from the way I can see how Alice feels, that they would be happier if friendship was restored. I think sometimes a young man being a few years older, than a girl, makes up his mind he wants to marry, sooner than the girl does, and if he takes her first answer as unchangeable, without giving her plenty of time to consider the matter he might make a mistake. I know if Ed had have taken my first answer, without giving me another chance to reply, I never should have married him. Well what a fool I am I don’t believe I will ever send this letter, do you.
Well I dreamed of seeing Maude last night and she looked nice and happy, so I thought, Maude is all right. I hope so anyway. I suppose Winnie will be with you New Years, if he don’t change his mind. Lester has been here this week cutting wood for our folks, I don’t think he will stay long though. I guess I shall like to live here all right, if I could only go to meetings and Sunday school, and to see our folks I would be all right. Well I can’t think of any news, so I will stop, -love to you all.—write soon to
Emma L. Anderson