Jan 14.  This is the episode in short but there are a number of details which I have learned from Will since our marriage which help to explain his part in it.  He left Minneapolis with the determination to say no more to me for some time at least and we had seemingly begun again on a friendly basis.  Miss Bowker was particularly attractive to men and most happy in her society; as he knows now, a flirt, the first one of the species that he had ever known well.  He was lonesome and sick, often had the blues and was in need of sympathy.  She did her best to infatuate him and succeeded because he was then not in a mood to look critically at those who seemed friendly.  Then, as I said before, he thought that she was sincere in her advances and he was overcome.  One incident displays her method.  She couldn't skate very well and wanted him to teach her.  She would always need his assistance in order to keep her on her feet especially in dark places.  Then she would get tired and want to rest in quiet later and lest he get cold while they rested she would insist on wrapping her fur around his neck.  The kiss on the stair was but the last straw.



        He cannot now see, nor I must admit can I, how he could be so blind as to be unable to see her wiles.  After that Christmas he son began to have glimpses of clear sight but the warning of Mr. Bowker only maddened him.  But his infatuation lasted only a short time and with clearer sight he found she was not at all what he had thought her.  Her influence on him was lowering and he felt it.  Before September he had so far regretted his position as to talk it over with a friend and hope that either he misjudged her and all would be cleared up by an announcement of the engagement or by a breaking of it.  Besides his own disenchantment his folks did not approve.  His father had always advised him not to become engaged until he was through school and moreover did not Lillie's good judgment.  Not like to see him married to a stranger of another faith and nationality.  His mother had always wanted him to marry me.  Lillie had written once to Miss Bower who after waiting seven weeks replied in a letter which gave Lillie a very poor impression of her and Will has always valued Lilly's good judgment.  Then too, as will has told me since, as soon as his first infatuation was over, he remembered me.  The pillow which I sent him and which he must have received shortly after Christmas, was the only one in his room he says, that no one dated use.  The fellows soon learned to know it.  Long before his release he had not only ceased to be infatuated by her but had begun to hate his bonds and to think of her with despair and dislike.  The last letters show it plainly even though the letter asking for a release is gently written.  Her answer is characteristic; it doesn't seem possible that a woman truly in love and rejected could have written it.  I wish Will had kept all his letters which she returned and his diary covering that period and a short time before, but he destroyed most of the letters and the diary.  Had he kept it, I could perhaps more easily have put myself in his place.  I'm slowly becoming able to see it as he does but it is hard for one who has never been in the least tempted.  I have never been attracted by any man I have known except him. 


        Will says that though he could wish to forget it all, he regrets it only for what pain it may give me.  Now that it's all over he can see that it has left him better and broader minded; moreover it will make him less exacting, more lenient and lovingly thankful toward me.  He says that having known her he can better appreciate me.  [That sounds egotistic but he said it.]


        In July, 1995, after teaching school a year, I attended summer school at Fargo together with Selma Hogeland, Ida Landblom and others of the girls I knew from Casselton and Cheyenne.  As far as we were concerned the school part was somewhat of a farce for we just had a good time together and studied as little as possible.  Selma and I were at Herman Landbloms one day when Dora telephoned me saying that she and Papa had decided to go with an excursion to Duluth the next Thursday if I wished to go.  I had been invited to a party in Fargo for that day and had planned a good time but finally decided to go.  Selma then wanted to talk to Dora and learned what I had not; that not only was Albin with Mr. Clough in Duluth but Will also.  This she told me after having hung up the receiver.  I felt queer.  I almost decided to telephone and say I thought it would be as much fun to stay in Fargo and not go but that seemed like confessing a weakness.  So I said nothing and when the excursion train arrived Thursday morning I was at the station read to go with him.


     We knew no one in Duluth then except the boys but Papa was going with us so we anticipated a pretty good time seeing the city and the lake.  Dora wrote to Albin at that time and they were perhaps then most friendly  [We had just heard of Lillie's engagement to Mr. Clough.]  They did not know of our arrival until the next morning when Papa called on Albin whose address we had.  He came up immediately looking as glad to see us as could  be and Mr. Clough came soon after.  Will had an engagement but called also before the others left.  He seemed glad to see us also and I could detect no difference in him then.  In the morning we girls and Papa went up to Fond du lac and in the evening Will and Albin took us for a ride on the lake.  Albin and Dora, of course, went together and I was left to Will.  He seemed rather quiet and on the steamer he left most of us to talk to the rest of us.  He said that he had been away so long that he seemed not to be in it and did not understand our references.  I remember I felt sorry for him; he seemed lonesome especially as compared to Albin's jollity.[1]

[1]   At dinner that evening Will had some trouble about his order and the waiter exasperated him so that he complained to the manager and asked for another.   He was cross and blue.  Someone asked how I should like to be a waiter. I thought it might be pleasant to wait, depending on whom I waited.  Will really didn't behave well but he was used to Eastern service and he was not in an amiable mood.



        The next day Albin arranged with Mr. Clough to take us out to the parks without consulting Will.  [Will says that he did it deliberately to rouse him to a realization of his love for me.  If he did he could not have done better for Will was hurt and thought he and not Mr. Clough should have gone.]    I remember thinking it strange that Will did not go but thought he did not care to.  Anyway we four had a jolly time that afternoon and also in the evening.  On Sunday Mr. Clough hired a three seated rig and took us all for a ride on the boulevard.  As we were ready to get into it Will helped me into the back seat and asked permission to ride with me.  Dora and Albin rode in the middle and Mr. Clough and Papa the driver's seat.  There was no mention of the past except that Will spoke of the time that had elapsed since our last ride together and we all enjoyed ourselves and had a fine ride.  [One thing more.  Just before the ride I, being dressed before Dora, went down to the parlor.  I hoped vaguely that Will would be there and he was.  He did not notice me as I came but was sitting with his face in his hands.  I wondered if he was not well but he said it was nothing.  We talked only a minute or two till Dora came.].



        When we returned from the ride we had lunch at the hotel together and in the afternoon Mr. Clough and Albin again took us to the park.  Before going we packed our grips preparatory to going home immediately on our return.  Will came up just as I came from my room and gave mea Harvard catalogue and a souvenir butter dish which he had with him from a trip through Canada to Boston.  As he gave them to me he said that probably he would visit the farm before returning to Harvard.  I said we would be glad to see him.  "Will you?" he asked and I said I would.  He could not go with us to the park as he had an engagement in West Superior that afternoon.  However he took the same car as we did and bade us good-bye when he got off.  He did not look very cheerful.  As he went Albin said something about Will's being pretty much interested over there.  The remark was meant for me and I heard it.  Nevertheless he had a good time.  In the evening after dinner our train left and Albin and Mr. Clough saw us off.  They even got on the train intending to ride to West Superior.  After the train started home they found out from the conductor that it was going back another way and wold not stop again until some thirty miles out.  They knew however that it would slow up before leaving town which it did and they then jumped off safely.  I think Dora and I will always remember them thankfully when we think of that excursion for they surely did all in their power to make it pleasant for us and we did have such a good time.


        Jan. 20.  This excursion to Duluth occurred about the middle of July or a little later.  I do not know precisely what the effect of our meeting was on Will's determination to end his engagement to Miss Bowker but at any rate he wrote for his release soon after.  The letter is dated July thirtieth.[1]  He remained in Duluth until he received his answer and the release from his engagement and then he and Albin were home to Wheaton.

[1]   I had already determined t seek a release at once, and had in fact several times thereafter tried; but the meeting with Jenny undoubtedly acted as a stimulus.




        They had been at home only a day or two when Albin made known his intention of coming to Casselton the next day and asked Will to go with him.  Will wanted him to wait for he had decided not to visit the farm until after I had begun to teach school and then make only a fleeting visit.  But Albin had made up his mind and, though Will hesitated until almost the last minute, he packed his grip and went along.[1]

[1]   Albin decided to go and I decided not to go the evening before the morning train left.  Next morning about an hour before time to leave the house on the long ten mile drive to the train, he asked me again to go with him and I packed and went.



        Dora and I were just ready to drive to town when they telephoned from Fargo that they were coming.  Only one of us could go to meet them and Dora went.  I can see Will now as he stepped out of the buggy and came up the walk with his coat on his arm to where we were waiting to greet him at the door.  Albin, of course, looked jolly as ever and Will smiled happily.  He didn't intend to proposed to me but nevertheless did so that very evening.  Dora and Albin were interested in themselves and both wanted us to be together, so managed it well.  In the evening we went out to the hammocks and it wasn't long before Will wondered if I had not changed.  [He says I was as sweet and friendly toward him as I could be.  I tried to be nice and must have succeeded.]  Then he told me of Miss Bowker and of his engagement.  I was interested but it must have hurt for he says my manner changed.  He wanted to know if it made any difference.  I thought not but I couldn't accept a love so lately another's.  Then we went into the house.[1]

[1]   Jenny's manner was indeed enticing and made it easy to tell.  The talk in the hammock was a matter of an hour or two.



        Albin had arranged with Papa to work on the farm during threshing so we knew he would stay a month or six weeks.  Will came only to visit.  I don't know whether he would have gone back home immediately if he had visited with the family which he had no opportunity to do as yet.  Probably not for it may be he felt encouraged.  He says he was sure I cared.  During the week, he and Albin and Dora and I drove some six miles north of Casselton to visit the Landbloms.  [Alex and Jack rented a farm there].  Coming home Will and I sat in the back seat of the surrey.  We were having a jolly time.  I was nervously talkative when he looked over at me and said, "Jenny, don't you care?" appealingly.  I don't know what might have happened had we been alone but just then Dora looked around and I shook my head.  The rest of the ride was spoiled.

        Will intended to go home the next day but we had planned to go to Cheyenne on Sunday and he finally decided to stay lest his absence cause remorse.  We had a good time at Landbloms.  Will did not bother me.[1]  He went for a walk with Ida and picked two thistles; one he gave to Ida.  The other to me; but he had picked the thorns from mine.[2]  On the way home Will drove and Dora and Albin sat behind.  Though we in front did not know it, Albin then asked Dora if there was any hope for him and received a negative answer.  It was surely an embarrassing ride.  Dora and Albin, Will and I.  Will and I talked very little and finally grew silent.  He looked sad and tired but was very considerate.  I was blue too and sorry for us both.  I wanted to reach over and touch his hand and tell him I cared.  It would have been so easy, but I couldn't.  But, if he should ask me again?

[1] Jenny was most jolly and entertaining at supper, rather noticeably.  I had not interfered or sought to take her time.  I saw then that her real feelings were favorable to me.



[2]   I have a distinct recollection of making chocolate while talking with Jenny alone in the kitchen.  I saw the light in her eyes.  We served the others in the dining room and we back to the kitchen to drink ours.


On reflection, I find Will is right.  We did make the chocolate I the kitchen.


He did, the next evening.  Dora and Albin, still friendly, made chocolate for all us young folks and this was how it happened.  We had poured it and carried in all but two cups.  I was in the kitchen about to carry them in when Will came out and said, "Won't you drink your chocolate here with me?"  I must have known that there was to be more than just the chocolate for I couldn't say a thing but sat down quietly to drink it.  So did he and for a while nothing was said.  [Will was going home in the morning.]  Then he asked me again if I did not love him and told me that he had asked Papa for me.  I laid my arms on the table and cried.  He put his arms around me and kissed me and told me not to cry.  "Let me hear you say it, Jenny," he said, and I said, "I love you, Will" and kissed him.  So we were engaged August fourteenth, nineteen hundred and five.[1]

[1]   We didn't drink the chocolate.


        After a while [I don't know how long but all had gone to bed except Albin and Dora] we went into the dining room but it was empty.  In the hall we found them and told them.  They were glad and kissed us.  It all seemed so natural and right.  Then they went upstairs and after Will had kissed me I went too.  The next day we told Mamma and Papa and then the rest of the family.  Will wrote to his folks.  We decided to tell all our friends for it was not to be secret even though we did not then expect to be married in less than four years.  Will still had two years in the law school and we thought it would take him at least two years more to pay his debts and get ready to support a wife.


        Meanwhile Lillie and Florence had written that they were coming to visit us.  They arrived the latter part of the week and, being now Will's fiancée, I went to meet them.  They had not received Will's letter before leaving home so did not yet know that we were engaged.  We were about half way home when I told them.  It was this way.  In play Florence used to call me her Mamma and Dora called Lillie hers.  Florence asked if I was not glad to see my daughter.  I told her I couldn't be her Mamma any longer as I had decided to become her sister.  Then I asked if they had not heard the news.  They had not, but were very much pleased and kissed me and told me so.

        After their arrival, Will and I had little peace.  Wherever we went, Dora and Florence were sure to go too and they missed no opportunity to spread the news, taking especial pleasure in teasing us about it before company and finally announcing it.  Lilly had only recently become engaged to Mr. Clough so she sympathized with us.  Moreover, she had her share.  Will and I did our best to look used to it and enjoyed even the teasing.  The week after Lillie and Florence came it occurred to us that it would be fun to have Mr. Clough too, so we wrote him even though we did not hope he could come all the way from Duluth for two or three days.  But the attraction must have been great, for come he did and Saturday morning and until Monday he and Lillie shared the distinction of being newly-engaged with us.