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Hill Country Living

Her Dearest John Was Dearly Missed


It’s a Wagner Week and here is the first part of a massive love letter to John from someone calling herself “Mince,” which is signed in quotes so it’s surely a pet name. This letter included a lock of golden blonde hair tied with a tiny string. My favorite part of this letter is how she sees the yellow fever epidemic as a potential way to see John sooner. That’s true, blind love.


Houstonville, N.C. 

July 17th, 1887


Dearest John, 

Where do you suppose your little sweetheart is this Sunday evening? Out in the yard, under one of those large old oaks and thinking of you.

Now I am just going to imagine that you are sitting here in the grass by me and we will have one of the nice, old fashioned chats. Don’t you wish you were, sure enough? I do, certain.

Say, sweetheart, if the yellow fever gets down there why can’t you “spread out your white wings and sail up here?”

Mother, Grandma and all told me to tell you to be sure and come just whenever you can. They would be delighted to see you and of course you KNOW I would.

John, dear, why is it I am so terribly unceremonious with you? Do you know, I never think of such a thing as writing to any one else if they owe me a letter but I always just sit down and scribble away to you whenever I feel like it. Don’t know whether you fancy being treated in such a style or not but I do detest to be so stiff and ceremonious, don’t you?

Look here, you naughty boy, I have a “crow to pick” with you too. What do you mean by saying you look at that picture everyday and wonder if the original is really in love with you or trifling with your affections? Now, if you can’t do any better than that, you’d better not look at all. Let me tell you what to do. Look at it and think “Well, here’S one little girl who loves me better than all the world beside and always will.” Isn’t that much nicer? John, can you look in those eyes and believe that I would deceive you? Take a good look now and tell me, tell me true.

I say, sweetheart, how many girls have you made love to, since you left Salisbury? Don’t get mad! John I just asked because, well because a certain somebody of my acquaintance asked, or something like it. You tell me, then I’ll tell you how many I’ve made love to. Isn’t that a fair proposition?

John, dearest, I have once more to beg your hardships pardon, and plead for grace. I am awfully sorry if I really did hurt your feelings about that “flirting” business but I didn’t mean to at all. Won’t you forgive me, darling? And I’ll never never do so again, if I can possibly help it.

Sweetheart, I have been trusting you all the time though I didn’t know it myself until I came to examine feelings closer. I trusted you at the very first, or you would have never gotten that little “confession” from me that you did.

John, dear, I wish that I could be with you for five minutes. I am afraid you are troubling that dear old self of yours about something you ought not to. Is it not so, Sweetheart?

[The letter goes on like this for six more pages. Then her mother calls her down to make lemonade. Then she continues writing the letter on Tuesday which I will also do. Over-the-top sappy love letter to be continued next Wagner Week…]

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