Part 13 of a Series
Letters to Myscie is a true story. It reveals to us a “yankee’s” view of the area and the times, and the impact it had on newcomers.
Suzanne E. Smith
In my room
May 12, 1883
My dear dear Myscie
Your loving letter telling me about the fire came this morning. I was so glad to hear from you again before I left town, because it seems so long to look ahead and think I will not be able to get another for perhaps two whole weeks. Myscie I can't help thinking how good you have been about witing to me ever since I came out here. On our way in last Wednesday we stoped at the Magdalena camp, left Jim (I will tell you how he came to be with us after awhile) and got the mail. I had three letters there waiting for me all from you my dear Myscie and some papers. After we got the mail, we came right away so I read them while we were riding in. Clate said I was two hours reading them. Well, I don't know but I was, for some of them I read over twice and I took my time about them all and a pleasanter or happier two hours I haven't spent since I came to New Mexico. Myscie they were the best letters you have written me. So full of love and trust and confidence and they did me so much good to read them and know your true loving self, dear dear Myscie I know how much you love me, how much you miss me and how you would love to see me. I know it all and it is mutual; it could not be less so on my part. Dear Myscie you shall never regret this love nor this trust and I shall always strive to make you so very very happy, Myscie. Do you know I am all the while looking forward to and picturing to myself our future happy home. Oh Myscie, my dear dear girl, how happy we shall be and how we will strive to make it so pleasant for each other. Such thoughts as these are continually going through my mind. I can not help it. I don't wish to help it, for they make me so happy and willing and so anxious to do all I can.
You mentioned in one of your letters Myscie about the letter I wrote to Vence. Yes I did write to him. I like Vence, he asked me to write when I came away. I promised I would and as I was feeling just like it one day, I did sit down and scribbled quite a letter off to him, but about the contents, I don't think at least I don't remember of writing him anything I would not be writing for you to read. Myscie of course I did not write about the same things entirely that I would write to you, neither do I write to you about some of the things perhaps that I wrote to Vence because they would not interest you as there are rough sides, bad sides and hard sides of life in this country that you would not care to know and yet I would be willing to write to you about them if I thought they would interest you. I take little interest in them myself and try and keep out of the hard places as much as I can for I have seen many samples of the ease with which boys are led in to utter ruin out here in no time. Gambling, drinking etc, etc is the past-time of most all, and it is hard to be clever and be liked (and one must be clever and liked or else he is U.G.?) with out falling into these H--- holes all over. I have little fear, and yet I don't care for those experiences only so far as they may help me to get on with others. Now for instance last evening, I fell in with about eight of some of the best boys of the city; they were out on a "lark". I could not get away from them after they had caught sight of me with out playing the wrong card. I knew that some time I may want to use some of them and they will stand by me. I also knew what it meant to get in with them, but I could work that all right which it did about 9.30 in a very clever way and went to my room with the good use of all the boys and yet all OK myself.
The boys from what I hear this morning did have a pretty hard time before the night was over as I anticipated. Now this was the best thing for me to do, as I did do. Yet there was quite a risk to me because it's easier to get in with the boys than to get out after you are over in, but I had no fear for I have been there before.
Myscie trust me in these things, for I would be willing for you to know all my out side experiences here if I thought they would interest you. I always have you in mind my dear dear Myscie and do nothing that can reflect on you or that I would not be willing to tell you all about. I know you do trust me in these matters or I should say more. So about Vence's letter though it was not like I would write to you Myscie, Yet I know of nothing I wrote I would not be willing for your eyes to read for I am careful what I write always. Myscie I am real glad you have written to mother. You are so good to and is with out my asking you too, but I wish you would tell me what you wrote her Myscie. I know how you have under-rated yourself to her from the very start and now it's my time to write to her. You have given her your standard and your description and now I want to give her my opinion of my little girl. There she can put the two together and form her own opinion.
Myscie your letter this morning was full of the "blues" but no more so and perhaps not as much so as I had expected, for I know how sad it must make you all. But don't get discouraged dear Myscie for it never will do and don't give up your music for it is one of your best and dearest friends at all times. You know this yourself and last of all you must not give up going to Boston. It may seem just now out of the question, but you must not give up the idea Myscie. Where there's a will, there's a way you know, September is a long way off you know yet. Do you know what I am calculating for you to do this summer Myscie? I want you to spend next August in Rockland Mass at my house. They would be so happy to have you visit with them. It is the best time to visit on the sea shore and we do not live far so you would have a grand good time and I know it would be so good a change for you on the health question. Myscie do you know you worry me? Dear Girl you are all not well that is sure. You have no business or right, a young girl like you to be as unwell as you have been the past four or five months. You need a rest and a change and you must have it. You may laugh but it is truely so and if you will stop and think about it you can't but say so too. Myscie you must keep your health, let that be the first thing. Now about you going East this summer.. You must not say no to me Myscie. Don't say you can't or that it will never do, for it will do. By that time you will be well acquainted with my mother and I know you will not hesitate if she asks you to come, as I know she surely will do. Uncle, Auntie and my two cousins Jessie and Authur are to be at grandpa and grandma Smith's all summer, July and August so you will meet them for father will surely take you down there and they live right on the coast, where there is bathing and sailing and fishing untill you can't rest. This change will do you so much good dear Myscie, and I want you to consent to go and you will won't you?
Have you told your mother about our engagement Myscie? I thought perhaps you had by some things you wrote in your last two or three letters. I have not had a chance to write to her as yet, but shall very soon, as quick as we get settled down from running all over the country as we have been doing for the past three weeks. We have traveled over four hundred miles during the past three weeks. Give my love to your mother and tell her not to worry about her boys out here for we are all right.
Jim is going out and stop with me for a little while I guess we will stop for him when we go back. He has been a little blue I guess for some time back for he has been promised jobs several times and has lost hem each time some how. I have been rather fortunate in this way some how for I have had several good chances offered me with out hunting them.
How would you like to know what we have been doing the past two or three weeks? I can tell you in a very few words= Locating Ranches= That is just puting up notices of possession not all for our selves but in other parties names. When you knew of me last was the first night-after we started out when we camped at the "Milk Ranch" and where I wrote you a letter, the next day we went out forty miles, reached "Snake Ranch" about noon. We were doing so well we pushed on thinking we could reach what is called "White water spring" by dark, but night over took us and we were obliged to make what is called a dry camp. This is to camp with out water. We had had no water since noon except about two quarts which we carried with us in a canteen for drinking purposes. We drove about an hour after dark but finally gave it up for fear we would loose the trail as we could follow it with great difficulty in the dark. I wish you could have seen us winding along in the "foot hills". (There are small hills and swells which are found at the foot of every mountain range) I was on horse back picking out the trail and Mr. Cowles following with the team. We made our camp on a sort of a plain between two foot hills. This was my first experience in camp life. The first thing we did was to unhitch the horses, feed them and then turn them out to grass "lariat" them as we call it. That is we put a long rope around their neck and tie it to a stick fastened to the ground so they can feed and yet so we can find them in the morning. Next was to build a big fire and make our bed. There were lots of scrub cedar trees all about us. We cut down lots of these, some for fire wood and some were piled up all around us on three sides of the fire and made a sort of little house. In this we spred our blankets on the ground for a bed and after we had eaten our supper which I will not attempt to describe just here, we turned in for the night, with our camp fire burning.
To be continued…
Picture: Saloon (speculated to be the Hilton)©J.E. Smith