Howe Letters - 1893

Mr. George A. Howe, 14 Kirkland Place, Cambridge, Mass
Brown University
Providence, R.I.
February 5/93 [Sunday night]
Dear George,-
I am at home and it is almost ten o'clock,- but I am going to scribble a line or two to you before I go to bed as a sort of antedote or better, recreation after the long days work I have done today.
I am very glad to receive a letter from you, more glad than you imagine. The help you give is not small, I assure you, old fellow, and you mustn't write any more closing sentences like that one in your last letter. I am glad you liked the little poem. I am no poet, but have a sort of "hankering" after rhyme once in a while. The "color keetches" I didn't write. One of my fraternity mates composed them. I think they are very well done, not new in conception but well developed and unique in the color thought, if not in style. I wish more men in college would try such work. Most men recognize that they are not poets or novelists before they reach their Junior year, but they have no need to relapse into absolute quietude along literary lines for that reason. But most of them do, just the same. I do sympathize with you about college athletics, except that I like to see them, and lose my head over a victory very suddenly. Perhaps the "except" is not necessary. The interest in these things is not wholly bad, but vastly overdone. Study is so often second instead of first and college a place to have your last "good time" before settling down to work. It's wrong, and the time will come when such things will take proper place. Yale took its step too hastily, on the whole. Its motive was good, but the rule would not accomplish the desired result.
Well, brother, I suppose the Mid Year Exams are out of sight by this time. Grate. Do you have a vacation of one day on the birthday of our country's sire? If so, how would you treat a suggestion for a trip to Wellesley on that day? Their glee club gives a concert on that evening, Wednesday, and we could have a high young time. I suppose, George, I might to make a confession and tell you that I went up a couple of weeks ago with our Glee Club and sat with the young lady at whom you smiled, unless it was at me, on a certain stormy Sunday afternoon away back in the dim distance somewhere. You will excuse this side-trip, old fellow, won't you, considering my desire to go up with you on the 22d, and not say, "Well, let him go alone this time, too." I am looking forward to Cambridge and being with you oftener myself. I get to dreaming once in a while about it, and wonder if I shall be lonely. I say, "No. If I do, I shall slip over and chat with George and get back to the old rut again. I just stopped a minute and thought of your room and yourself sleeping away. Perhaps you are not in it tonight. No matter, the ?? is there, suspended file and all.
Write me again, George, when the will lets up a little and so we'll keep a grip on each other. Goodbye and goodnight.
Your true friend, Leslie E. Learned

Sunday Evening [Not dated but apparently right after the 5 Feb '93 letter about going to Wellesley. The 22nd would be Wed. the following Sun would be 26th. Also the same time as Alden's accident on the 18th, and death by the 22nd when Susie wrote, but no mention. How could Geo. not know ?? Or a totally different occasion.]
Dear Folks:
Margaret will tell you all about the Opera, and our adventures there and at Wellesley so there isn't much for me to write. However, as I didn't see you I want to send a few words in this letter. I went over to call on Leslie this evening to scold him for not going to Wellesley with me yesterday according to his agreement, but he wasn't at home. He never is at home when I call. What a lot of bumming those theologues must do!
It was such a nice, rainy ev'g that I did not want to come back without calling on someone, so I dropped into Ed Lacey's room and was lucky enough to find him in. We sat, and talked for about an hour and a half (I always make good long calls) and had a real genial time. While we were chatting, the firebells rang, and pretty soon the hook and ladder dashed by. We looked out to see where the fire was, and debated whether it was best to go. We decided that, under the circumstances, we were excusable for not being present, and resumed our talk.
The chameleon enjoyed his trip to Wellesley very much, and got home all right. He asked me today if he couldn't go there to college when he got grown up. I told him that only girls were allowed there, and that he would want to be a Harvard boy. But he said that the girls treated him lots nicer than the boys and that he would rather go to the Willard School than to Harvard. I said that he was so green they would take him for a Freshman all through his course. This made him mad, and he laid down between the leaves of my cash-book and went to sleep. [apparently he has a pet lizard]
Sometime when you think of it I wish you would send me that boy-girl photograph. (We have a copy of this photo) And have you told Arthur about taking my stirrups off Perls saddle?


(old handwriting: "Susie Choate after Alden's death.) He died from falling on the ice Feb. 18, 1893.
Susie had been Mary Howe's best friend - Tana.
Postmarked May 6, 1893
My dear Mrs. Howe,
To write you so soon after these strange sad days seems almost like intrusion but I write because I cannot help it -my own heart has been so full in all these days and my thoughts have been so constantly with you that I am sure you will feel that I write out of an aching heart. It isn't a time to talk much -would seem only to hurt instead of heal, but you will let me tell you what a very tender place he has had and always will have in my love. It is because he is such a winning, lovely child and because he is Mary's, that he made himself a place such as no other little child has in my heart. He had been a beautiful little inspiration to me in my thoughts and plans for my Sunday noon hour and I am very thankful for all that he has been and is to me. "Of such is the kingdom of Heaven" has a new and more beautiful meaning now to me, I believe, than it ever had before.
What these days have been and are to his father and to you in your home I am sure no one may know. Your sorrow is too sacred for others to come near except by very sincere and tender sympathy. You will believe that you have mine, though I say so little to express it. By and by if you care to see me I shall be more than glad to come to you, dear Mrs. Howe. Remember me with very much love to Oda and Margaret and if Mr. White is with you let him know of my deep sympathy.
I am as always your very loving, Susie
Salem, February 22, 1893

(old handwriting: "Uncle Asa after Alden's death).
This is possibly the only writing from Asa we have. He is 77 and died the following year.
Northfield, Vt. Feb. 27, 1893
Dear Niece,
Your letter bringing the report of little Alden's death was read by due course of mail. By what you had written a short time before, we had no reason to expect anything very different; still we did have some hope that we might learn something that would there was a possible chance for the little boys recovery. Certainly Mr. White and ?? the friends of little Alden have our sympathy; but we all know that when the heart is deeply pierced with grief, that neither words, nor tears of sympathy can at once remove the anguish rankling there. Please give my regards to Mr. White and our other friends about Danvers. I was glad to learn from your mother was pleased with her maple sugar. We been having plenty of cold snowy weather. Soon as the weather gets reasonable, I hope to be able to make a short visit down your way.
Your Uncle A.H.