Frank E. P. Eastabrook and Eva E. Briggs
Frank and Eva ~ Letters 31 - 35
["Welcome Spring" an 1885 piano piece by Fred
We have had first class sleighing here now for more than three weeks, and yesterday we had a very heavy snowfall. I think the snow must be two feet deep in the fields.
My sings and convention thus far have all passed off nicely, and good satisfaction seems to have been given.
Pa spent the Sunday with us two weeks ago. He thinks we are nicely situated and is pleased with our prospects. I think you had better come here from Elmira and I will take you to Montrose or home. If I have business down there at that time when you get ready to come, I will send you my order on the D.L.& W. RR [see below], which will bring you here at the rate of two cts. [cents] per mile. You can find out how much it would cost by finding out what the distance is. That is, when the [rail]road getts through to Elmira, which I suppose will be soon.
[The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad eventually ran between New York City and Buffalo, NY and had stations in Bradford County. – Ed.]
It is now Sunday afternoon. Sara has just finished her work and asks if she can play while I write. I tell her she must write to Clara this afternoon.
The Sunday Telegram is sold here every Sunday, so you see we know what is going on in Elmira as well as here.
How is Mary and the other girls? Don’t you like her pretty well?
Next week I conduct a convention at Brooklyn and then I expect to go to Clifford to conduct one. [Both in Susquehanna Cty., PA.] Have had no schools there however.
I ride whenever I choose to on the Enjane [engine] of a coal train, or caboose—from Scranton to Syracuse, a distance of Two hundred miles. I have rode from Nicholson [Wyoming Cty., PA] home several times, and it costs me nothing. I have become acquainted with the conductor who is an active member of the Great Bend Comet Band. I think I will get that band to teach, at quite a good sallery.
I do not know when I shall go home—think about the first of April, but may not. I suppose you will see Sara’s folks [Hartley Stevens family] up there before long.
The Stevensville band I fear, will go where the Woodbine tweens [twines]—but hope not. [see note below]
I have sold two organs since the first of Jan., and think I will sell annother as soon as I can get it here.
Pa is doing well now in his business, which I am glad of.
Please write soon.
[Woodbine is a vine and needs something upon which to twine (tween) itself. This metaphor may mean that the band will fall between the cracks, as in a trellis, or it may mean it will continue to thrive only if it is supported. “Woodbine twine” is probably from Robert Burns’ poem, “The Banks of Doon.” The poem is about a tragic love affair and the heroine dies in the end. –Ed.]
“Rushville, Feb. 8, 1882 – Wednesday eve.
Dear darling Frank,
I went to the office from school today noon, and such horrid walking as it was! The water and soft snow came nearly over my overshoes at every step. But I was quite well paid for my trouble by finding your letter awaiting me.
Are’nt you a bad boy though! Writing letters Sunday all the time! I must confess to hav[ing] been tempted to do the same thing, but it gets ones thoughts on everyday things so much to write letters.
Cora and the children came up visiting last Thursday. The baby [“Winnie”] is cross but so sweet and lovable! I wish you could see her. She takes things in her hands now, and makes cunning baby voices for talk. When Cora undressed her, she put her in the corner, and she could stand there alone. You can’t imagine how funny she looked.
- Winifred Garfield, is 6 months old.
One day Ray asked Cora if ‘c-o-t-t-o-n’ did not spell cotton? Cora asked him who told him, and he said ‘O nobody, he just happened to think that c-o-t spelled ‘cot,’ and t-o-n spelled ‘ton,’ so he put them together.’ Wasn’t that quite sharp?
One day Mame [Mary] was playing with her Primer and she said to Ray, ‘Aunt Eva calls d-o-g, dog, what does she call c-o-w?’ I thought I would have to tell you something about Mame because I know you like her so much.
They all went home Friday night and I went with them. Your Mother and Katie were down staying with Clara’s children, and I went down to see them. Katie went to bed quite early, and then I had a nice visit with your Mother. Only it was’nt nearly long enough. I read to her part of every letter you have written since Christmas! What do you think of that! I was greatly surprised to learn you had not written to your Mother at all. She feels quite badly about it.
Frank Dear, I am afraid it is’nt hardly right, is it? You write to me so often you know. I presume your Mother loves you with a more unselfish love than I do. I know you must get very tired of writing, having so much of it to do in your books. If you cannot get along any other way, I guess I can get along with less letters and so let you send one to S[tevensville] one in a while.
Your Mother said it seemed like hearing you talk to hear your letter read. She always laughs and makes a fuss because I will not read what is ‘soft.’ She is glad we love each other so much. She said Mart and Anna did not seem much like you [and] I when at your house. And she thinks people love each other better for having gone together so long. O she said lots of ‘soft sweet’ things to me. It was some like seeing your dear self.
She said it seemed as if we were of one heart and mind. I think that is nice, and I am glad if we appear that way, are’nt you? She said she did not suppose anything but death could separate us. I told her how much I thought about our being separated when Sarah B[ender] died. And she said she thought a great deal about it too, because she knew how much your heart is set on me.
Clara read your letter to me. They got back from LeRays[ville] about one o’clock. Then Elmore went back to James’s with me. I did not go before because I was afraid to go alone.
I went down to Mary’s Saturday and so was ‘snowed in’ Sunday. I saw a fellow going by and asked him if I might ride up to S[tevensville] with him. (I did not know how I was going home from there.) I found out this fellow was going on up the creek, and so I rode on up to the corner with him, and missed going to church, which was quite a disappointment! I walked home from the corner and the snow was so deep it was about all I could do that day.
Your imagination does not go far, for I did not ‘wade’ to school Monday. I rode with Mr. Granger in a nice cutter [a small sleigh drawn by one horse]. And as for that ‘other arrangement,’ I have thought it over and over so many times that it is a dry consolation, and I am getting tired of it. Just wait until we are together every day. If we are not happy then, I shall be greatly disappointed.
Cora told me I had better not marry until I am twenty-five, because I never could be a girl, but once. But I think I would marry at 19 [her present age], if I had a few hundred dollars.
Grandfather and Grandmother are here tonight. [Harmon Briggs and his second wife Martha – Ed.]
David Keeney’s license is all the talk now, and I am very sorry to say that Mr. Keeler was the first man to sign it, and Fred Briggs [possibly Eva’s uncle] the next one. I dare say you have seen Mr. [H.?] Stevens’ family before this and heard all about it. [Also see #37]
I saw Mart a few minutes while I was down at S[tevensville]. He did not say much about his visit. Your Mother said she could not find out anything by him.
Does your hair come out yet? [Frank is going prematurely bald - Ed.]
Good night Darling, lots of love and kisses from
your loving Eva.”
“Elmira, Feb 11th, 1882
My Dear Darling Eva,
Your letter was rec’d today. I think it’s nice to know when you are going to get a letter. I am glad you have had a chance to go to Stevensville. I know Ma was pleased to see you. She thinks so much of you and likes to see you so much while I am away, because she knows you know all about me. I was writing a letter to Ma when I rec’d your letter. I suppose I ought to write to her more often, and shall try to after this. I wish you could go and see her real often. She must get very lonesome this winter.
I expect she was disapointed because Fred and Sara did not come home. I had a letter from Fred this week. He is very busy. He wants I should come that way home when I get through school. He will send me his pass on the R.R. [railroad], and then take me home from there. But I am not going to make any plans because I do not know what I shall do. You must not think to much of my comeing home, because I do not know when it will be.
It will take me longer to go through [finish school] than I expected, but I shall never be sorry that I come.
I went down to Mr. Stevens this afternoon. Fenton and I went all around the City nearly. He says Mr. Burrows is not going West so I expect Mart will stay with him, and if he does I think they will get married. I guess it would be a good thing for Mart if Mr. B[urrows] would go away. [so Mart would not marry – Ed.]
I would like very much to see that Baby. I like them after they get as old as she is. I think I like them better now than I did when I was smaller.
How does Ida & William get along? Does he go to see her as often as he did?
Today I put some salt and water on my hed for the first time. I thought if I had any hare left, I would have to do something. It comes out very fast.
I am going down and go to church with Fenton tomorrow. I guess he will go in my class in Sunday school. I think I shall enjoy going down to see them. [the Stevens]
I think it is to bad you have to go so far for your mail. I guess you earn all the letters you get from me.
It is very hard for me to think of things to write. I think a lots of love, but I am a poor hand to write it. So you must remember that I think lots of love, if I do not write it.
I am glad your health is good this winter. I guess it is a good thing that I am not home to keep you up nights. I know if I were there, I should keep you up once in a while.
I guess I never was more regular about my sleep than I have been this winter. School is about the same. There is about 45 in school now.
There isent much to this letter, but I presume you had rather have this, than not any. I do not feel much like writing and I don’t think I should [have] written to anyone but you. I will try and write more next time.
I wish I could be in your arms this night. I feal like being held, and you are such a good hand to do it.
Good by again Darling, From Your Love, Frank”
Between Frank and Eva and Other Family Members: