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Ira Conine Papers: Transcripts - MS 673
June 6th, 1864
I was very much supprised on receiving your communication of May 15th. Indeed I think you have more experience than most men of your age. I knew who the letter was from as soon as I saw the writing. I read the first line-I thought to myself can it be possible that Ira has gotten married? I realy believe a thousand things crowded into my mind at once. I never had such a feeling in my life-never wish to have again. I have thought a great many times since reading that one sentence how miserable I should feel if it was realy true. I should surely wish to die! Yet very many girls have been served the same way that were far better than I. I should have answered your letter before this time but when I was home last I forgot to get either money or stamps so I could not send letters to the office but I can write now so that when I do get home the letter will be ready to go to the office. I heard bad news this morning. Cap Mathias is dangerously wounded-think he cannot get well. Mrs. Mathias has a great deal of trouble lately. Her house took fire last week and was burned down-nearly every thing they had was burned. It was quite a loss. Still they are more able to stand it than some poor person would have been. It is school time so good by for this time.
I am in no very good humor this morning. Had a great mind to say some bad word. Had you been in reach of me you surely would have had your ears cuffed. I am surpprissed to think you would venture to send such a diminutive little note to me as the one I received this morning. Only five lines you naughty naughty soldier boy? I have a great mind to say you are not any soldier boy any more. I was just thinking what a nice long letter I should have to read from Ira but found upon opening it I was badly mistaken. I had a great mind to sit down and answer accordingly. I have finely come to the conclusion that I shall return good for evil seeing its you!
I am so sorry that you do not get our letters. It is not neglect on my part for I have answered every letter I received just as soon as I possibly could. Do you blame me Ira? I hope not for I assure you I have tried to do my part. I am going home this evening. There is quarterly meeting in Ottawa Sunday. I think your father and mother will be down. I hope they will. It has been a long time since I seen our Ma! I was over at [Harve Cousines] last [Sadurday] night. I got up at four o'clock in the morning, took a walk over to old Glen Cottage. It was so much like my good old home it almost made my heart ache to leave it. There I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life. I can never forget that dear old home. I gathered some flowers to press-here is a rose for you.
Last Sunday was Georges birth day. I received no letter from him last week but I heard from him. Had a letter from Lieut Eply. He stated they were all well and getting along finely.
I received that book you sent me. Did you read it. It was very good. Clarence was a dear good boy but I think he ought to have married Fanny Gould. I have'nt had much to read this summer scarcly ever get a paper only when I get home and then I have to talk instead of reading. There comes father with the buggy to take me home so good by my darling untill tomorrow.
Friday Eve, June 10th
Here I am at home this evening yet it does not seem like home to me. I think that old saying is true "Home is where e're the heart is." Would that I was where my heart it to night. After the train came in I went to the office but no letter to lighten the burden at my heart. I believe I should have been satisfied had I received another like yours of May st with only five lines in it. Perhaps to morrow mail will bring me a letter. I hope so at least. Capt Mathias came on the yesterday train. Mother says he looks very badly. Although he is not so severly [severely] wounded as we heard. There is no doubt but he will recover. I have not seen him yet. Dillworth is slightly wounded. Albert Mathias wounded in the elbow. Mr. [Dewilt] was killed. Augusta Goods husband. She was an old school mate of mine. You know they lived in Findlay. They were married just a week before he went to war. Now she is left with a babe to take care of. Oh, Ira I have such a dreadful headache I shall have to quit and finish in the morning. I hope I shall dream as sweet a dream of you as I did last night.
Now my dear I am going to try to finish my letter. I went to church came home went to the office and would you believe it I received a real mammoth letter all from that soldier boy of mine. You would laugh to hear mother tell how I acted. Cut up all sorts of capers indeed. I was just as happy as I could be. Now for the answer I hardly know where to begin. First of all I must tell you that I am so glad you received those two letters I can almost imagine how you felt after being deprived of that privilege for so long a time. I am glad they were so entertaining to you. I shall certainly forgive you for writing that note of May [25th]. I don't take every thing you say to heart as I need to understand you better-getting better acquainted.
Then you intend to haunt me do you? Ah indeed! You could do nothing that would be more to my liking than to give me a visit in my dreams every night. I always was very cowardly as you know yourself yet I do not think I should be afraid of the old gentleman you spoke of if I was sure he came with a message from you.
Wont I be more faithful in the future in writing to you? Of course I shall any thing you request I shall perform at all hazards. I must cheer up must I. In regard to my school? I shall try to. I feel better already who would'nt after getting such a love of a letter from one of the dearest best boys that ever lived. You know very well who I meant. I was not Jennie B but Jennie R that you sparked. I will send you another photograph. If you will promise to think more of it than the man did of his cow I will save that half cent for some other emergency. I hope you will think it looks as well as George says it does. He says it looks like a brass monkey but I don't mind much what he says. There now I shall have to quite writing again is'nt that provoking. Mr. Fisher and wife are coming to stay all night. Groves are here too. It is quite refreshing though to have our old friend and neighbor come to see us. Aunt Hannah ___ and Ann Hickerson were here to day. Uncle John too. I did want to have this letter in the office to night so that you would get it soon. I believe I will close it right up and answer the rest of that long letter Monday. That will do wont it Ira? Of course you will say yes and good by. Come to me in my dreams every night for I love to be with you.
Ever your own Jennie.
June 16th, 1864
Dear absent soldier!
I am going to try to answer or rather finish answering your letter of June 5th. I commenced to write to you last Sadurday but had to close up rather abruptly.
I can hardly tell where I left off writing! You thought I would have to except [Jen] is being careful of soldiers as you was always a sedate sort of a lad. If that is so I cant see it. Indeed I think you are the most dangerous soldier that I ever had the honor of being acquainted with and if you become so sedate and it must have been since I last saw you but you say I wont think you are so precise the next time you come home. Oh I guess you will have to do as I say the next time you come home. You need not think you can scare me talking that way. I am very glad you was in the convalescent camp at the time of that march and battle but I could not help feeling sorry that you was sick.
I am so glad that you cared nothing for that story. I was so afraid you would feel bad about it but then you would'nt say any thing to me about it if you did care. All that I cared about it was on your account. I think Han has got over her fret by this time. It is seven weeks to day since I was at your fathers-long time for me to stay away. I am going over there tomorrow evening to stay untill Monday.
I wont give Han her picture for a while yet or she will think you made me give it up and I don't want her to think that. You wont care will you?
Now Ira are you not ashamed to tell such big yarns to those southern ladies about the Northern women. I hope they will have sense enough not to believe you. If they knew you as well as I do they would'nt believe every thing you say.
You need not be any ways scared about those city plugs. I would'nt give one soldier for a ten acre field of those city plugs and home cowards.
You don't want me to leave any blank sentences. If I am to you what I profess to be I am a great deal more to you than I ever told you of. I never could tell all I feel toward you. I know you are all the world to me. What would it be without you It would be an entire blank to me I am sure. I always did tell you every thing when you was at home did'nt I? And I tell you when you come home what Moll Coats said about you. I forgot to write anything to Moll about that photograph. I will the next time I write to her. I was reading in that little book that you sent home by Anderson and I found a piece of poetry marked which read this, "Do any thing but love; or if thou lovest and art a woman, hide thy love from him whom thou dost worship, never let him know how dear he is. Flit like a bird before him; lead him form tree to tree from flower ; but be not won; or thou wilt, like that bird when caught and caged, be left to pine neglected, and perish in forgetfulness." By L.E. Landon
She seems to be a favorit writer of yours! Ira why did you mark that piece. Was it to give me warning. Oh no you surely would not be so false hearted and cruel as to win the affections of any girl and then leave her to neglect and forgetfulness. If this is to be my lot I never wish to see you again.
Father and mother were glad you had not entirely forgotten them. They return you their best wishes for your future happiness. I am well and getting along very well with my school. Have from twenty to twenty five scholars every day. Answer immediately.
Yours in love,
You are excuseable for the shortness of your letters. Try and do better the next time.
I sent you a photo last Saturday. If you ever get the other one send one of them back to put in my album.
Simpsons School House
Friday Morning June 24th
Ira here I am writing to you again. You surly cannot complain of me for the last month I have written to you every week for a long time. do say I am a good girl just one time. It will just be two weeks tomorrow eve since I received your last. But I am going home this evening and perhaps I shall find a letter there from you. If I should be disappointed I shall be very apt to call you an old plugg and all sorts of wicked names so any dear you see it would be best for you to have a letter there for me when I get home. Oh Ira I wish I could tell you what a gay old time we had over at Rose Cottage last Saturday and Sunday.
Han came after me with old Button Friday eve. You know how Button acts when she don't want to carry more than one on her back at once -- about every three steps she would kick up but Han was determined to conquer so Button had to cave in carry us over there Sallie brought me back Monday morning.
Lou Jenkins and another lady was there all night Saturday night Sunday John Shaw was there all day.
There is an old widdower living where Jo Mullins used to live and they have such a good swing there in the house so we all went down there in the evening to swing. Well it is no use for me to try to tell you of all the fun we had I enjoyed myself better than I have for six months. Don't think I enjoyed myself so well that I had no thoughts to bestow on you.
It matters little how highly I enjoy myself in comparison to the enjoyment I have just in thinking of you. Thoughts of you mingle with every thought. How often did we say if only Ira and Anderson were here. It is said the sweetest rose has a thron and so it is with all our enjoyments here there is an undefined dread of the future of something which keeps us back from that enjoyment that we used to have in days that are gone I often very often become frightened at my own thoughts. Think of things now that never used to enter my mind all that we can to is to hope that it will all be for the best here it is nine o'clock scholars coming so I must quit for this time.
Sabbath Morning June 26th
I wonder how you are enjoying this fine morning. Had a splendid little shower of rain last night cooled off the air. We have had such dreadful warm weather for the last two weeks. Seems to me I never witnessed warmer weather. Came home Friday evening from my school found no letter from my plug down in Tenn. I was imagining last Friday how I should avenge myself saying I did'nt care any thing for you at any rate (which would have been a story) After thinking over it and dreaming of it last night I came to the conclusion that you always was a dear good boy and if it had been so that you could have written the letter if would have been here. Father and Mother went out to the country yesterday have not returned as yet. I have been reading in Petersons Magazine all the morning. Some of the best stories I ever read I am going to take a magazine next winter. Perhaps you will be home by that time then I can read to you in the long winter evenings wont that be nice?
Well Ira I shall have to say good by to you and quit writing for the church bell is ringing and I am not dressed yet for church I must write my dear brother Geo. Wasn't I a good kind girl to write to you first with one you are first in every thing I have put a kiss in this letter so don't let it fly out when you open it.
Ever your own
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