“Why Pete, what’s the matter?”



June 19th 1862


Dear Clarinda

I received your letter today.  I have been to the post office every night this week.  I had almost begun to get discouraged about getting a letter from you.  Oh, I have been so lonesome.  Since you and the little ones are gone, I hardly know what to do.  I little thought when you were gone I should miss you so much.  Clarinda, I am not gifted much with words but now I find how when you are gone how dearly I loved you.  Kiss the babies both for me and take good care of them.  Every one who meets me says “Why Pete, what’s the matter?  Why, you look [choopfallen] enough.  Is your old woman gone with both the babies?  What makes you look lonesome?”  But Clarinda I cannot help it. 


Our families are well at present and are all in a hurry to hear from you.  I have been working in the garden evenings and playing on my old fiddle.  Clara, I set out nearly a hundred cabbage plants and, dear Clara, our garden looks finely.


Jerry Mulin is on his way home raving crazy and his wife is gone after him, and they have caught that young scapegrace Alex Lyons while trying to make his escape on board a vessel in [from] Canada west.  There is a circus performing here tonight, but Clara I shall not go because I want to have you with me when I go to any amusements, it seems so much better.


Clarinda, I am sorry you are so near out of money but in the next letter I must try and send you some.  My work is just the same as it was and old Hill and the muskrats want some just now.  I have slept to home every night but one down to mother’s, and on Sunday had supper to Jones’.  I don’t see what fun old maids and old batchelors have living all alone.  I think I shall come down by and by. 


Keep up your spirit for my sake, Clara.  Tell Ida the rats has not eat Pa clear all up and kiss her for me, and Willie too, and Clara, oh take care of them for my sake.  I have not got much more room to write so I must close. 


Love from your one true and devoted husband,

Peter L. Dumont