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Marshall. March 31. 1887.
My dear Aunt Martha,
I hasten to pen a few lines to send with Mother's letter received yesterday. A letter from her is a great rarity to me & I know you will be glad she is again able to write by her own hand. I am pained to learn by the letter of yours she enclosed to me that you failed to get an answer to your two letters. I am sorry, for you must think me very neglectful, after receiving your kind remembrances, not to acknowledge the favor. I hope you may get this letter & learn by it that I sent two letters to you in due season after yours came. We were all much pleased with the presents, I told you so in those letters.
I particularly value the ring for I have a penchant for old things, especially those that have belonged to valued relatives, either living or gone before us to the better land. I sent my love too, in those two letters. I have lately written to Lowell, in answer to some letters he wrote to me. So, we have had no new calamity befall us. It is the same old thing debt & being trammeled on account of it. If we ever do get out we shall fully appreciate & feel like new beings all over. Henry our 18 year old son has left home. He has gone to Dakota. His father gave his consent on his agreeing to hire a man in his place & he was sanguine in the expectation of doing so. A man's wages will be at least 18 dollars a month, & I think he has undertaken a hard task to earn that in addition to taking care of himself.
George expects to finish his course at the Academy where he now & is paying his own way. Mamie is happy & busy in her little family & has a most remarkable baby to take her opinion for it. I would like to see them all. I have much to discourage me (burning straw is one of my trials) but I am trying not to yield to discouragement for it will never do. What would the rest do if I gave out? I cannot make my home attractive & pleasant as I would like to, but a cheerful heart & countenance are one of the best homemakers, after all & if I can only maintain them in the midst of all, I feel that I have accomplished a good deal. The trouble is I don't always do it. But if I have lived through winter I ought to get along better in summer. We shall all have plenty of hard work to do, & little help enough to do it.
I have spells of being "very blue" but have not been way down for several years. I hope I may not live to have another siege of that terrible hypochondria. If I only could have a half way convenient house & wood to burn I fancy I would be a great deal more contented, but probably in that case I would have many more needs. Human beings are seldom satisfied. If the children do well, & keep out of debt I shall have good cause for gratitude whether we ever are even with the world or not. I have little hope that our circumstances will ever be any better, but Geo. is hopeful, as usual. Well, I must drop this fruitful theme, with much love to you each & all from,
Your most aff Niece,
Mary E. L. Carpenter
I enjoyed your little poem ever so much. Special thanks for the photographs. I wish I had one of Aunt Laura. Mine of her was stolen in my album.
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