Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Annie Curley, 1864, Connecticut

Below I have quoted a few excerpts of each letter.

The first quoted letter, dated May 20, is beautifully written by an intelligent, educated, young lady named, Annie Curley. Her poetic prose is a stark contrast to the horrors of Civil War. It appears that she has a romantic interest in Woodward. He has noted in manuscript the word "Forever" below the Patriotic Letter Head and the word "Union". This is a great letter and I am fairly certain that it originates in Stratford, Connecticut as the City of Stratford and Orange is referenced.

Sunday Evening May 20

Friend Woodward

Seated in Aunt Betsy’s parlor. I am endeavoring to awake my sleeping thoughts in order to comply with her requests which is to write to you.

I am spending a few weeks here. We arrived in Stratford at 10 o’clock, Wednesday night. Aunt Betsy drove over to where we were—only three short hours on the road. Nevertheless, the ride for the last four or five hours was exceedingly delightful—the beautiful moon rose and shone with unclouded splendor bathing in silver light, the lovely hills and dales—the delicious fragrance of the apple blossoms and musical songs of the mosquitoes, were highly gratifying to the respective senses.

When we got home, we found the house well secured for the night and Uncle William, seizing the opportunity during Aunt Betsy’s absence, had fallen into the arms of Morpheus, but after calling loudly several times, the fair Goddess was compelled to relax her embrace, and after a few moments, the poor fellow emerged from the house looking very much like Mr. Slipper Slopper, a person I have read of in the juvenile story of Master Fox.

I think that Stratford is the most quiet little village on the globe. Even the birds seem to catch the spirit of the people. They do not sing here as they do at home. Your Orange friends were all usually well when I left them. Grassy Hill is not robed in white as I think it was when you left there, but has donned her more becoming green.

The view from the hill at this season of the year is truly enchanting. Sometimes, early in the morning the mist that arises during the night gives the valley an appearance of a large lake studded with innumerable islands—such is not to be enjoyed but for a few moments, for as the sun rises, it dispels the mist and the lovely scene vanishes. The air is impregnated with the sweet perfume of the apple blossoms and early spring flowers, and the trees seems to inhale with the song of birds.

A few weeks ago, I spent the day to [sic] Miss Emily—she inqiures about you, and the shellframe. While there I took one lesson in painting, when I am at home at some future time, I shall send you some specimens of my skip in drawing. I don’t know, Woodward, as I ought to have written you. I am afraid you will grow old too fast. Even now a silver thread may be shining in your raven hair, caused by attending to so many lady correspondents. But don’t despair. This morning as I took up the paper, I noticed nearly a whole column occupied in recommending Clark’s Hair Restoration, and I beg of you, if bad comes to worse to resort to it, and perhaps it will restore your hair to its former beauty.

The other evening Mrs. Sarah Dikeman came up here and after sitting a few moments, drew from her pocket an ambrotype, and handing to Aunt Betsy asked her if she knew who that man was. She rolled up her eyes and said, ‘Why it’s Woodward.’ Words cannot express how much your picture is thought of by the owners.

My hand trembles so that I cannot write fit to be seen. Henry made a very short visit here the other day. I was so pleased to see him that I ran to the door and k------ [kissed] him. Well I don’t like to tell what I did do to him. Yours and so forth…Annie Curley"

The letters are dated May 20 and October 23, respectively. The year is not referenced, but I believe they are circa 1864 or 1865.

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