Item #List2043 Letter Describing a Lonely Holiday Spent Cooking Alone, Cool Sulphurs, Arkansas, 1854. Women - Domestic Life - Race Relations, Author Unknown.
[Women - Domestic Life - Race Relations] Author Unknown

Letter Describing a Lonely Holiday Spent Cooking Alone, Cool Sulphurs, Arkansas, 1854.

Arkansas: 1854. Letter measuring 8 x 6 ½ inches. Some slight tears at folds, near fine. Fine. Item #List2043

An interesting letter written by a woman to her sister after spending a holiday by herself without domestic help. The author quotes a passage from Marion Harland’s poem “”Alone,” and laments her holiday spent alone. She writes:

“Mother gave the D—--- free ticket and it was either work or starve, so into the kitchen I went. I like the preliminaries of cooking, such as making cakes and nick knacks, but when it comes to the sober reality I say quits, but it would have amused you to see me shaking my fat sides sifting corn meal. Flour isn't fashionable up here. It can be had for neither love nor money.” She then elaborates on her loneliness, stating: “It is Sabbath evening and I feel particularly lonely as I look from my chamber window on the mountains clad in their raiment of pure white and listen to the howling of the wind. I wish like the psalmist that I had wings to fly from this bleak and dreary region. The weather has been unusually severe, even for the mountains. One snow after another. “

The letter is signed as “Lizzie,” and we are unable to identify the author by last name. We believe her location to be in Arkansas despite not finding an exact match for the town Cool Sulphurs based on the provenance, which included several other family papers from Arkansas. An interesting letter overall documenting a woman’s loneliness with insight into the domestic sphere of the time.

Full text follows:

My Dear Jennie,

I have just received Tesh's letter which I assure you was quite welcome, enthroned in solitude as I am now. Mat and Saraph have been in Lexington for some time and I am all alone.

I am alone the last light tread
And laughs have died upon my ear;
And I may weep unchecked - nor dread
The scorn, that forces back the tear.

You see the blues have moved me to poetry.

Oh! How much I would like to see you all. It is so terribly lonely here. I will give you an account of my Christmas Holidays. Mother gave the Darkies free ticket and it was either work or starve, so into the kitchen I went. I like the preliminaries of cooking, such as making cakes and nick knacks, but when it comes to the sober reality I say quits, but it would have amused you to see me shaking my fat sides sifting corn meal. Flour isn't fashionable up here. It can be had for neither love nor money. I don't know what I would give for some of Aunt Cynthia's nice hot biscuits. We had a nice molasses stew and eggnog. Tesh did not give me a description of her holidays. Write me all about them.

Well now, I will interrogate you a while.

Who is it Mr. Taylor visits so often, you or Tesh?
Who are you traveling up to F- so often to see?
I will acknowledge the last is rather a straightforward question, but you know I am interested. These and those visits to Cousin Addis excite the Green Eyed Monster. Mr. Jones, who is he after? Answer these in your next. I haven't seen hair nor hide of a man since I came home but once. There has been such a marrying about here lately that all the beaus that were presentable have disappeared.

What has become of Pet Perry and Fannie, married yet? Tell Eliza to write and give me an account of the conquest she made in L- how Cora was dressed and everything. Mother intends commencing your apron as soon as Mat gets back from L, as she was compelled to send there for the articles to work with. I am in hopes it will be pretty.

It is Sabbath evening and I feel particularly lonely as I look from my chamber window on the mountains clad in their raiment of pure white and listen to the howling of the wind. I wish like the psalmist that I had wings to fly from this bleak and dreary region. The weather has been unusually severe, even for the mountains. One snow after another. Mat writes that the sleighing is fine in L. She has been attending several parties but they were dancing parties and I guess Saraph's conscientious scruples prevented her attending. Tell Tesh not to let anyone but Moses out. Give Aunt C a great deal of love, also Uncle O. I would give anything in this world to see you all. Kiss Joe for me and Ned. Much love to Cousin Will. Tell him Mother intends writing to him in a few days. Tell Uncle Oscar, Cook says he intends sending him a nice venison ham. He came in yesterday with a very nice fine deer on his shoulder. You never saw such a prouder creature. He is going to have the skin tanned to make us some gloves. He almost furnishes us with meat. It distresses me to see him leading such a roving life, but he is yet young enough to enter College. Mother does not care about his graduating so soon. He studies very diligently at nights, but I guess you are tired of home details, so I will close with much love to all. Answer this soon and believe me ever your Dear Cousin,

Lizzie

P.S. Give my love to Cousin Em when you write. Adieu.

Price: $375.00