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Marshall, July 22. 1883
My dear Aunt Martha,
I am so glad it is not as hard as formerly for you to write, and, as a result, I received that nice long letter from you just after I had mailed my last to you. I am sorry I omitted Mamie's picture, but I will not fail to enclose it in this. I wanted to share my pleasure with dear Mother, so sent your letter right on to her, consequently have it not here to answer. By the way, Mother's health is so much improved that she is doing her own work again. I am afraid she can never depend on Mamie's help any more, for this summer has given an entirely new turn to her prospects. I will enclose her last letter. You will see in that how it is with her.
She has been engaged for several weeks to Charlie, the son of Mr. & Mrs. Hurd, where she has boarded all summer. She is very happy in this new relation, and I am glad in her joy. They are both young. She was twenty one last winter and he will be twenty two in August, and they do not expect to be married for awhile yet. He is a farmer and has a trade too, a mason. He has never had his picture taken so I have not seen him yet. Mamie is a good girl and well qualified for keeping house. She is an excellent cook, and quite an adept in both hand and machine sewing, and a beautiful washer and ironer. She took a second grade certificate at the "Institute" last spring I sent this picture visiting last summer at Newport & Providence. Cousin Hallie Rhoades wrote that she was a daughter to be proud of. I suppose I am proud enough of all of my family I think I have reason to be.
Perhaps I told you we expect to have a picture of all who are at home taken as a group. You shall have a copy when we get them. I am all ready for it now excepting finishing Will's coat & we must do it before harvest commences. It will commence in less than two weeks now. The grain is looking very fine, if nothing comes to destroy it. George has 260 acres in, 200 of it rented land. We hope, if the prices are good to get out of debt next fall. We expect to let Henry go to Owatonna next winter to the Academy with Georgie, so our family will be quite small for us, only five. Our number at home in [illegible] and Greenville, before it was broken up. We had nice strawberries in our own garden this year. I wish you could all see our yearling colts "Dollie" and "Jessie." They are almost precisely alike & as nice as can be.
Our folks are haying now. George Howard has broken 80 acres for Mr. Parady's whose land joins us, and we rent it. He is a Frenchman. Mamie intends to take a claim in the Turtle Mountains, and expects to go there this winter "to hold it down." Mr. Hurd & Charlie will take land, and Mr. Hurd expects to spend the winter there with his family so it will be a good chance for her. Speaking of rings, I wear my engagement ring on my little finger & I have for years. I never had a wedding ring. How you must value those keepsakes that are so very old. I would value them very highly if I had any such. I have the little teacup over a hundred years old, that Aunt Laura gave me. I thought so much of the ring cousin Laura sent me so long ago made of her hair, but during those long years of sickness, where I couldn't take care of things that got lost.
I was so sorry for it was a beautiful memento. It is coming daylight, and I must go to work. Every day brings plenty for me to do. We are all well. With much love to cousins Lowell & Laura also yourself.
I am your aff Niece,
Mary E. L. Carpenter
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