Her attitude toward young men aggravated our disgust (and pity) still further.  She seemed absolutely devoid of any knowledge of the essentials of behavior in that respect.  Dora had spoken of her coming to several friends and particularly to Sam Powers and Will Resemier, telling them what a find girl Nellie was and asking them to call.  She had told Nellie much of Sam and Nellie must have really felt that she knew him for she couldn't have been more inquisitive had she been his sister.  Sam had been Dora's beau and she knew it.  The first time she saw Sam she asked him if he couldn't love her instead, if he still liked Dora, how much land he had, etc.  He was astonished and disgusted.  Will Nesemeier and she got along better at first but he was of the fondling sort and she didn't know how to stop him.  Once she even let him braid her hair.  Alternatively she called him "a rube," and  "greenhorn.  She was too easy for him and he didn't like her.  Will (my Will) had to explain to him that she was merely ignorant and didn't know how her speeches sounded to other and asked him to be friendly to her.  He did so what he could to help entertain her.  None of the other boys liked her at all.  She used to come swinging into a room with her pretty dress on looking very well indeed; then spoil it all by asking all present if they didn't think her dress was pretty.  Then she would feel that she had done or said something out of place and say "Nobody loves me.  Everybody hates me.  I guess I'll go out in the garden and eat worms."  She would repeat that on suitable and unsuitable occasions until we were all tired of it.







        Then she missed no opportunities to go and stay all night with our girl friends and, if we worried when we had her in sight, we were still more anxious when she was out of sight.  She stayed in town at night with Mildred Knight but got along very well.  One night she spent with Lulu Nesemeier and, as we learned afterwards, had a heart to heart talk with Lulu in which she discussed us all thoroughly.









        Of course, when she was not present, she furnished an endless theme of conversation for the rest of us.  Will regarded her as a curiosity. I felt that at the bottom Nellie was all right and only needed the teachings of experience.  Papa and Mamma, who had heard much of her from us before her arrival, were wonder struck.  Grandma was thoroughly disgusted.  Roy, who had to drive her ten miles to church when it was most inconvenient, tolerated her.  Anna couldn't  express herself without laughing; and Dora was so humiliated by the reflection cast on her by having such friends at college that she cried.  With Ruth only did Nellie find companionship.  Ruth was thirteen years old and they could at least sing together.  Besides making us disgusted and sorely trying our real friendship for her, she made herself unhappy for she could not but feel that something was wrong.  But she didn't know what to do to remedy matters and neither did we.  We young folks felt that one of us ought to help her in some way, tell her of some of her mistakes and suggest to her where there was room for improvement.  It wasn't an easy task and on one volunteer.

        WILL:  She used to sing "I Don't Care," a popular song of that year.  "I don't care, I don't care" what they may think of me.  I happily go lucky; they say I'm plucky, so happy and care free, etc."







        Feb. 12, '07.  She had come to the farm for a three weeks visit and though she was homesick and often wanted to go home, she had made up her mind to stay the three weeks out.  The third week we planned to go to the State Fair at Fargo, driving the twenty miles and stopping at Sheyenne on the way.  Dora and Nellie and Lillie and Roy and Will and I went in a double rig from our place to Hogelund's and from there we were all going to the Fair on Friday.  Lillie had come from Wheaton the week after Will and I left.  We young people were all away on a visit up north the day she came, as we did not expect her.  She telephoned from Fargo and luckily just as Mother was about to go to town or there would have been no one to meet her.  She stayed in the house until she had driven up and then calmly walked out and surprised us all.  Of course, she had heard much of Nellie from Albin and Florence and expected to like her very much.  She didn't, and as was her way, took an aversion to her from the moment they met.  That night at Hogelund's on the way to the fair it happened that Dora and Lillie had one room and Nellie and I another directly across the hall.  After going to bed, we talked awhile and gradually we got to the point where Nellie told me of her troubles.  She said she had been lonesome and that she knew she wasn't behaving correctly and she wished she could go home and talk it all ver with her mother.  Then I told her as gently as I could what was wrong and indicated how she could improve her conduct in company toward boys, in conversation, etc.  Of course I could say nothing of her duties as a guest. 

        This was particularly hard for me as Nellie  felt as badly over it all and cried miserably and I was quite sure, though she did not suspect it, that Dora and Lilly were listening.  After she became calmer we were quiet for a while and then Dora called out to us.  Nellie and I went in there for a little while and the girls were so jolly and cordial that I  knew they had heard.  Lillie said  afterwards that she thought much more of Nellie after she had heard her side of the story.  When we went back to our room Nellie began to cry again and I comforted her as well as I could.  She said it was a great help to have talked it over with someone and she intended  to try hard to do better.  I have no doubt she did but it is not so easy to change one's spots and, though we now understood her better, and sympathized with her, we could not help but see that there was still much room for improvement.

        On Sunday evening after our return from Sheyenne she went home and in spite of her sincere regrets that her visit had no been pleasant after we were relieved to have her go; particularly Dora who expected Mr. Lenner during the week and dreaded Nellie's presence during his visit.  Nellie wrote to me after her return home and again when she was teaching school at Madison, S.D.  She told me that she hoped to come again for a visit to the farm if, for no other reason, just to show us and the people around our farm, that she could behave.  She did come the next summer to my wedding but arrived only the day before so Will and I saw little of her.  Dora wrote us however that Nellie had changed somewhat but that a year or two more out in the world would help still to "round the corners."

        Feb. 19, '08.  The next week Mr. Lenner arrived and though we did no know it, we soon found out that this was a particularly momentous visit o him and to Dora.  He came to propose and she knew it or rather he came for his answer for it seems evident tome now that he must have spoken to her before.  That week's courtship was most curious. They sat up every night until long past midnight even until three and four o'clock in the morning.  I was a most arduous wooing.  We knew that the question was up, for Dora used to ask us what love was anyway; how we were sure we were in love, etc.  She was also very anxious to know how we liked him, especially will who now met him for the first time.  Will said nothing except that  he liked him well enough as far as he knew him.  I was in a hard position.  I knew Will didn't care for him and Dora was continually asking me how Will liked Mr. Lenner.  I could only repeat what Will had said, i.e., that he didn't know him, having seen so little of him, but that he seemed an acceptable young man, etc. 

        Will and I saw so little of him while he was there that we really did not know him.  Whether or not we could have influenced her decision is of course an open question but we probably could have delayed it had we tried.  However, the affair came to a crisis before we realized that it was near.  It was so funny.  Both of them seem to have prearranged that it would happen that particular evening and both knew what her answer would be.  They intended to do it deliberately and comfortably.  We were all upstairs when Dora sent Mr. Lenner down to put up the hammock in the men's dining room, as they had done all week and continued to do while he was there.  About ten o'clock the séance began and the next morning they announced their engagement.  Dora and I slept together so she told me.  The next morning we were all up except Mr. Lenner and Dora who, having been up into the "wee small hours" slept late.  Will and I arranged their breakfasts for them on trays and carried them up to them.  I took served Dora and Will served Mr. Lenner.  Dora told me about how it happened and how much better she felt after it was all settled and Mr. Lenner told Will most of the story of their courtship from the beginning.  He told  Will that he had kissed her in the spring when they went "river banking."  He had only kissed her twice but had led up to it oftener in this way.  They would sit "side by side down by the river side," gradually draw closer, even so close that their cheeks touched.  Then he would say, "you know I won't kiss you unless you want me to."  Will and I have practiced it since we were married and the chances are that when two would-be lovers sit as close as that they soon want to.  Dora didn't tell me that she had kissed Mr. Lenner before they were engaged because she knew I wouldn't approve.  When I teased her about it she tried to pretend that Mr. Lenner had "stuffed" Will but she finally confessed.  She thought their courtship had been much more romantic than ours' they had gone "river banking," boating, strolling, dancing together and done all in due and proper love making order.  I'll have to admit that ours was different.