Tina (Justina) Austin writes Cousin Emma 1864

New York September 24, 1864

My dear Cousin,

Although a few days only have elapsed since I received your letter, yet I thought I would answer it today as I have more time to do so than I do any other day. I go to school now and you know with studying lessons and writing compositions it occupies ones time very much, so if my letter is not as long as usual, you must make some allowances for me and besides I have got a most terrible headache another plea for an excuse.

Mother [Phebe Maria Eldred Austin] says that she thinks if your Mothers’ [Mary Eldred Austin] eye does not get any better she had better come here and have it attended to. She will go to the infirmary with her and she will have the best of care.

I have not been to church at all today, but Nettie and I are going this afternoon and as it is most time for me to prepare my letter will have to be brief, next time I write, I will try and write something a little more interesting to you, hoping to hear from you soon, I remain ever

Your loving Cousin


my love to all

Though others may be dearer

In friendship’s brighter glee,

In strong connections nearer,

Emma forget not me.


New York Dec 18, 1864

Dear Cousin,

At last I have seated myself to write to you the long promised letter although I am almost ashamed to for I have put it off so long. But then they say things are relished twice as much when we wait a long time for them. Hoping [it will] be the case with you, I will only ask you to excuse me and I will try not to commit so grave an offense again.

I have not been to my much loved school for the past week as I am suffering very much with a bad cold in my head.

So our esteemed and most worthy cousin G E [George Eldred?] has at last stepped into the blissful bonds of matrimony etc…Congratulate him for me.

Well Emogene, how [is school and the teacher]? [Is] it work as good as ever and have you got any thumps on the nose like the one I received when I was there?

How I wish I had a monstrous piece of pumpkin pie. Do you make it as good as ever? And do you? Any more cucumbers and make them like the night we went on an exploring expedition down to the cellar? Is Retta [Henrietta?] as found of feeding the pigs as ever and has Maria gotten stung by any more hornets?

How is grandmother [Hannah Hickok Eldred] and cucumbers getting along? Does she eat as many as ever?

Tell Aunt Mary I am getting very thin for the want of a good dish of string beans and tell Grandmother I have at last learned to like applesauce and apple puddings and if she will only come and see us, I will make her an apple pudding everyday. But I guess you are getting tired of reading such nonsense and as I have another letter yet to write, I will bring this to a close, My love to all is the closing sentence of your loving Cousin’s letter, 




Dear Cousin Emma,

You told me not to write to you until I found time to write you a good long letter. I guess you will think it has taken me a great while to find time to write to you, but you know that schoolgirls have a great deal to attend to and you know I am always very particular in studying my lessons and in doing everything else required of me and you must not think it was for want of inclination to write that I did not do it sooner.

Now that I have commenced I do not know what to write about. I am still going to school; wish you were here to go with me. I expect to graduate soon with the highest honors my conduct in school has improved very much since you were here—had no less than six bad marks last week, but they were well earned. I do not write this because I think I’m smart. No. I am really ashamed of myself. but Em if you were in school (I mean in my class) I fear you would have a dozen bad marks unless you could control your laughing faculties better than I do.

I never was in a class where the girls loved fun so much as they do in ours. it seems to be the chick thing on which they live. Just as Miss Appleton, commences to hear the lessons, some girl will accidentally upset the pitcher of water over the floor, another pretends there was a rat in her desk, gives a yell and jumps most across the room, setting the class in the greatest confusion imaginable while a third is so frightened that she faints away: by the time order is restored, it is past the lesson hour and ciphering is commenced, thus affording an escape to the girls who did not know their lessons But I guess you are as tired of hearing about school as I am of writing it. I thought I would write you a little so you could have some idea of how we improve the time given us to learn.

Rand is still at Elmira. I wish she was home; it is so lonesome without her. I have to sleep all alone. Can’t you persuade your Father [Henry Austin, my great grandfather] to let you come and spend the winter with me? You know you are entirely welcome. I will do all I can to keep you from getting homesick and you won’t have to sleep in the little tumble down bedstead, nor in the dark bedroom for it is packed full of Belle’s furniture. I have the little front bedroom all to myself and we could have nice times if you would only come. If I could have my way, I would have you here in a jiffy.

You must try and behave well and not get your Spencer upside down.

But I have written so much now that it has been too much for me. I have got a fearful headache so you must excuse this miserable writing. We are all well and I am happy to say behaving well. Write very soon if not sooner and believe me ever,

Your loving Cousin


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