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Letter from Mary Carpenter, August 18, 1871

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Letters of Mary Carpenter
Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection P1487

Rochester, Minn. Aug.18.1871.

Dear Cousin Laura,

This is the first anniversary of a day sacred to the name of Laura. A year ago this morning the dark eyes of our own little Laura opened upon us. She was a lovely babe, and her memory is very sweet. It often seems lonely without her. I rejoiced so much in another daughter. Mamie really needs a sister. But the Lord knew what was best for us all. She did but "bud on earth to bloom in Heaven". What was our loss is her eternal gain. I have just been reading over your last letter. I am so sorry I could not have replied sooner, for now I can lay no claim to a prompt answer to this and I so, so love to read your letters. All of my friends were almost displeased when they found out I had sent you that poor picture.

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I have tried three times and cannot get anything satisfactory. Have had none finished off. There is one proof picture that Geo. likes better than any of the rest and I enclose it. I think it looks a little like Aunt Martha. What do you think? Father thinks I had better never try to get a picture again. I have such poor success. They certainly none of them flatter me. But I don't mean to give up trying. Perhaps by and by I'll get a good one. My hand is so tired perhaps you'll excuse penciling. I'll tell you what I did yesterday. I am too tired to write but may have to delay a long time if I wait till I am rested. I owe Mrs. Shack and Aunt Laura letters now, but I can't write very well at present. You see we are right in the middle of harvesting the great drive of the year.

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Now for what I did yesterday. I got up before four, got breakfast (we have a hired man), skimmed milk, churned, worked over the churning already on hand, did a large washing, baked 6 loaves of bread, and seven pumpkin pies. While I was baking, put on the irons and did the ironing, got supper, &c besides washing all the dishes, making the beds, sweeping &c. Mamie was not well so she didn't help me so much as usual. I was tired & lame enough at night and feel miserable in consequence today. So you see I am giving you the doings in writing today but this is the first gap in work I have had for weeks. We are now nearly through cutting the grain but it is all to be stacked & threshed. Then we may feel less drain I hope.

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I hope those hindrances to your sitting for a picture are gone so you'll send me one. And Aunt Martha too I want very much. I don't "look pretty" in mine so I won't be disappointed if you don't happen to. I mean to have our three children taken this fall so you can all see how they look. Our cows have done well this summer. We have bought everything we have had with butter. I have got the shoes you mailed me. I got three pairs for $3.25. One pair of good french calf gaiters 3.00 boots originally, I got for 1.00 because the elastics were stretched out. I put in some out of some old garters & have worn them all summer, they are good now. Then I got a pair of [illegible] goulashes for $1.75 because they were lower on the ankle than the prevailing style. They are new. I've not worn them yet. I also got a [additional pages missing].

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I made 100 pounds of butter in June. Have not kept account since. Sold 28 doz. of eggs at 10 cts a doz. one week lately.

[Mary E. L. Carpenter]

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