~~~My dearest Sepp,
I hope this letter finds you well, & I trust that the feckless youngsters coming in to the Cavalry Depot have not ben driving you to distraction. If any one may be able to take those boys who have just come off the boat, or fresh from the farm somewheres, & make of them somthing that may someday properly be called soldiers, I have evry confidence that person is You. I enjoy hearing your tales of the recruits and their glorious mixing of eagerness & ineptitude an I do most sincerely look forward to your next correspondence to arrive.
I have not much new to tell to you. Things have been more or less about what one wuld expect in this time of year in this sort of place. The snow has of course already begun to fall, and with the coming of the damp and cold, there is a goodly bit of desease runnin its course through the town and nearby camps. The scarlett fever in particlar seems to be upon us, and I have found my self engaged in lookin after some of my friends & aquaintances such as Miss Addison Leigh, of whom I have spoke to you before. She was in quite dire strates but now seems to be well upon her way to recovery. Other folk have not been as favored and I fear Eugene the Undertaker has more bizness than he can handle at the moment. This situation makes him somwhat more cheerful than I supose a Undertaker is customarily expected to be. That is, how ever, Eugene’s nature I imagine. Pestilence is to him cause for optomism, and He is never so glum as when everyone in town appears to be enjoying a fit of good health.
Oh yes..and in other news I have been in some ups & downs with Miss Lillian at the Gem, who you recall I did count among my especial frends, but with whom I am now not speaking. This is a sad complication to life, being as you know, when I did discover from her that her husband back in Georgia was keeping her aged grandmother a virtual prizoner in hopes of extracting from Miss Lil some financial advntage & gain control of a portion of her interests, I did determine upon finding a course to assist her.
Well Sepp, I must inform you I did elect to invest some of the funs left unto me by Al Husar in securing the services of some Pinkertons I know, & they did end up kidnapping ...or perhaps is better to say, resqueing Miss Lil’s grandmother. They needed to take her somwhere that wuld be a safe haven for her, so I suppose now is a good time to tell you, that needing to move quickly in this purpose, I took the libberty of contacting your relations in Cincinnati, and she is now quite comfortable--if somewhat befuddled at this tern of events--to be ther guest for some indefinit period. I am sure we shall figger out some alternative in short order, but in the mean-time, yor famly does seem to enjoy the lady’s company, especially your Uncle Fredrick the retired Steamboat Cap’n.
Ah but that is not the complication--as I mentioned previous, I am not speaking to Lillian at presnt, being as she did insult my frend Miss Adina, the manager of the orfan asylum. The issue being that she is a mulatto, and Lil did not treat her with such respect as I did believe was due to her. Tho now, I must confess, that I may have been wrong in my estimation of The Woman, bein as she --Miss Adina , that is -- appeers to have absconded with the funs from the orfan asylum, leaving it to an uncertain future, so that it is closed for now.
So yes...you are no doubt thinkin, aha well that all counts as news...the Pinkertons having absconded with Lil’s grandma, an me bein at odds with LIL, whose Granmother now does reside with yor famly in th Queen City & yes, I guess that Adina having seemingly took off with the orfan funs an their home bein closed, would probbly qualify as news too...yes, you are correct in that. But other-wise not much is new.
Altho I should also like to relate to you a story, that while having my back & forth with Miss Lil, I did note that of late there was a young gal of perhaps about 11 years, usually to be found settin outside on the porch o the Gem Saloon by the big wood pile, sheltering from the wind.
After one row with Lil, I stormed out from the saloon to get myself away from Lil’s presense which then I did find so distasteful jus then, and I sat upon the porch next to this young gal, a thin-looking chile with flaxen hair & a intelligent exporession..
“Hello” says she.
“Hello yerself” says I in a not too neighborly fashion.
“Mam,” she says after a pause of not too long, “Why are you fightin with the Saloon lady in there? I thot she was yer fren.”
Says I to this chile, “how do you know o this of us fightin, an who is who’s fren and who is not?”
She says, “I set here outside the Gem a lot becuz it is a good place to lissen to the grown folk an see & whatch what is goin on. I am here very offen so I guess I kno quite a bit.”
This conserned me some. “What does yer Ma & Pa think o you passin yer time on the porch outside of a disrepitable enterprise like the Gem?”
My Ma, she is dead & in heaven,” the litle gal replies. “My Pa is not around, bein as he left me here some time a go--almost two weeks now--as he was goin away lookin to make a Big Score he said. And he said where he was goin I could not come. He had been drinkin terrible at the time & losin’ at cards, an when he is like tha he becomes terrible mean, so I do not argu with him but do what he says. He sed to stay here in the town, an that is what I am doin.”
“What is yor name chile?”
“I am Carrie Anne Durbovna...I alreddy know you are Miss Dio, I have herd yor hame often an all the folk talk of you...”
“Yer pa jus up an lef you?” I asks.
“She nods an says “I ben sleepin’ in back dorways & the stable, an the stableman he neer even known I was there. An I know how to find vittles when need be, an can make it last a long time what I find.”
“This ain’t ter first time a-bein left, is it?” I enquired even tho I alreddy knew the anser.
The chile jus nodded, and for a moment, tho she was endevorin to show me how brave & resoursefull she was, I could see somthin in her eyes, that Sepp, I mus confess did speak to me in a most intens manner. I kno you kno why it did so, as you are aware o my history with my own Pa. In my case I was fortunate to have my Papaw to stand in.
But this chile has nought.
An o course, with Miss Adina takin off an all, ther is no orfan asylum for her to go to.
So yes, my beloved, that is the last news I hav to relate--as I sed her name is Carrie Anne, an she is livin with me in the back room of the Number 10. She is a mos agreeable an willin chile & helps with things I need to have done. You an Me, we now have us a daughter after a fashion.
Other than that, like I said, ain’t much new to tell you about.
As always I send to you my faythful Love & Respect, an look forward with grate enthusiasm for the time when Next I might set eyes upon you once more.
with all my heart I am yors,