Jan 8.  However my attitude toward him appeared to me it could not have seemed decidedly discouraging to him for he proposed to me again before the summer vacation and he wrote to me occasionally during the summer when he again worked for the harvester company.  I remember one letter began thus: "Dear Helena, you said that I might call you thus, etc."  He liked my middle name and had asked to be allowed t call me by it and I had told him, "Well, you can if you want to.  It makes no difference to me."

        In the fall I went back to the University.  Will had definitely decided to go to Harvard and had obtained a scholarship while at the University of Minnesota.  He says that my refusal had stimulated his determination to go and that he went in opposition to his father's wishes.  He had a little money and my father's promise to help him if necessary.  Before leaving for Harvard he came to Minneapolis to see me and to get his books.  I bought those of his books which I would need in my year's work, also his dictionary and a small bookcase; other of his books which he did not want to take with him he left with me to take care of until it should be convenient to return them to his home.  The evening before he left Minneapolis he called on me and proposed for the third time.  It was hard for both of us but I was not ready and had to refuse again.  I remember I told him that since he was going East it was very likely that there he would meet some other girl whom he would love.  We were still young and had many years to wait.  And so he went away.


        We wrote occasionally at first perhaps once a month; but he did not like the shortness and terseness of my letters.  I admit they were very poor but his reproaches only made them worse.  Just before Christmas I had waited long before answering his letter and just after vacation he sent me a registered letter which I did not receive for a week or two after it arrived at the University as I had the mumps and could not call for my mail there.  Usually my letters came to the house so I did not expect any.  In this letter he did really scold me for waiting so long and I resented it and wrote a short news item note in reply.  Finally in the spring he wrote me a note saying he was very busy and therefore found it necessary to limit his correspondence to his immediate family and business letters.  That hurt.  I wrote so seldom that his replies could not have taken half an hour a month.  "The end," I thought, but though it hurt I didn’t' own it even to myself.


        Jan 10.  The following summer Will stayed in Massachusetts at Worcester and worked for the New York Life Insurance Company.  He came home only for a couple of weeks in the fall.  Albin had entered the College of Dentistry at Minnesota and I was back for my senior year.  Will stopped for three days in Minneapolis on his way back to Cambridge to see us.  From the time I received his note in the spring I had determined to forget and whenever we met again to be just a good friend.  And so I did.  I saw him each of the three days and apparently he too wished to begin again as very good friends.  He says now that when we were walking one day past Pillsbury Hall and I took him in to see the new music room that if he had proposed to me then I would have accepted.  I don't think so.  However, he had made up his mind not to say more about it and didn't.  So we were the best of friends and nothing more.  He promised to send me a Harvard banner in return for a Minnesota pillow but nothing was said about writing.  He sent me the banner soon after returning to Cambridge for which I wrote and thanked him and sent him the pillow just before coming home for Christmas vacation.  He wrote and thanked and perhaps one letter after that which I still have.  I can't remember that he wrote me again unless perhaps a note acknowledging the receipt of the invitation to my graduation which I sent him in the spring.  The letter which I have is a pleasant, friendly one dated Feb. 6, 1904 in which he says the Christmas just passed was thus far perhaps the happiest one in his life.  And the reason?  But, as the novelists say, that's another story.


        Will did not come home at all that summer.  In the spring, just after college closed Rev. Monten and the family moved to Hopkins and I saw none of them except Florence for a whole year.  Florence had her leg amputated during the summer and came out to our farm for three or four weeks afterwards, as she put it, "I came out west to recuperate."  Dear little Florence.  She was so brave and happy!


        She spoke seldom of Will nor did she tell us any news of him.  Just before she and Dora left for college -- they went to Minnesota that fall, Florence entering a week or two after college opened -- she received a package of pictures of Will or rather a package for Lillie.  There was a picture for Dora but none for me.  I wondered.


        Just before Monten's left for Hopkins, Lillie's engagement to Ed Landblom was announced.  It was a surprise to me but it proved to be true.  Dora and Albin were by this time very good friends and becoming faster friends.  Soon after college opened Dora and Florence roomed together and Albin was of course a constant visitor.  Not only were they much together at college but the weekends were always spent by all three with Rev. and Mrs. Monten at Hopkins.  There Dora was known as Albin's girl evidently to the satisfaction of Rev. and Mrs. Monten who loved her for her own happy self and for her kindness to Florence.  But now Mr. Lenner who had visited our farm during the preceding summer began to call and slowly took Albin's place in Dora's regard.  Lillie taught at Grand Marais in the northern part of Minnesota that winter and having much time for thought came to the realization that her love for Ed was not real and after mature consideration and consultation with Will broke her engagement.  The fact was that on her way to Grand Marais she stopped in Duluth to visit Esther and again met Mr. Clough.


        [As I have not mentioned him before it will be necessary to say something of him.  He had been a roommate and very dear friend of Will's while at the Superior Normal school and was a classmate of Lilllie's.  Since they were such good friends Will had persuaded him to come out of Cheyenne to teach after his graduation from the Normal and had procured him a school about five miles from the parsonage.  Lillie taught the school at the parsonage and Mr. Clough boarded with Rev. Monte.  Then they were only friends and Lillie favored Ed.  We all liked Mr. Clough or "Clough" as we called him.  Will still calls him "The Deacon" as he used to do when they roomed together.  His name is David Henry Clough.  Well, we all liked him because he was such a jolly, good natured, happy, honest fellow with the jolliest laugh "you ever saw"].


        Well, Lillie met him again and after considerable thinking she realized that she cared more for him than she did for Ed. And consequently broke her engagement even though she did not know what Mr. Clough's feelings toward her were.  Maybe she suspected.  After Christmas they began to correspond and next June when Lillie passed through Duluth on her way home from Grand Marais, they were engaged.  So Lillie broke her first engagement as Esther had done and found real love in the second trial.  [They are married now and so happy, which happiness has been increased by the arrival of a little daughter, Florence.]  They were to have been married at Christmas at Wheaton whither Rev. Monten had removed from Hopkins.


        That year, 1905-06 while Lillie taught at Gran Marais and won her victory over her troubles, and Dora and Florence roomed together while they attended the University, I taught a small country school about seven miles from home.  It was sometimes lonesome and would have been hard had I not been able to come home every Saturday and Sunday, but that made the week short and busy.  It wasn't as gay as University life and I often wished I was with Dora and Florence in Minneapolis, especially when they wrote of the good times they had.  Like Lillie, I had much time to think and I reviewed often my life at the University and sometimes thought of Will.  Did I care of him?  At least I knew of no one else I liked as well.  Light goes off and on.  I was old enough, and alone enough also, to realize that a woman needs someone to lean upon, someone to love and be loved by, someone to complete her life.  Heretofore I had thought I should never marry but now that began to seem to me the natural thing.  I began to think seriously of marriage as opposed to old maidenhood though I knew not whom to marry.  I was only twenty-one but even then I began to realize that a life alone must be a lonesome one.  But the man I should love and who should love me!  Would it be Will, I wondered.  I wondered!  But I had not heard from him for a year and had scarcely heard of him.  Doubtless he had forgotten and very likely there was another.   There was, but I did not know for it was a secret.  Perhaps it was as well.


Having given an account of myself during my last year and college and the following year, this seems to be a proper place to tell of the fortune which befell Will as I have since learned it; that is from the time we last met in September 1903 until July 1905.  When he got back to Cambridge after his short two weeks visit at home, three days of which he spent in Minneapolis visiting Albin and me, he was introduced to a Duluth friend, Miss Daysie Lewis, a Radcliffe girl, to a charming friend of hers, Miss Mabel Edna Bowker.[1]  During the fall they became well acquainted and Will began intensely to be attracted by the handsome, stylish, and attractive girl.  She in her turn seemed to like him and he became a constant and admiring visitor, and he was not alone.  Miss B. was popular and one of a jolly crowed of young people whom he knew well.  She was the only child and her father though now in somewhat straitened though still comfortable circumstances, had been quite rich and was still an influential man in the Masonic order in Boston.  She had been well educated at Radcliffe and all her life used to good society.  She was, as only children are, self-willed and ruled her somewhat weak mother.

[1]   I had really met Miss B the previous June, but knew her very slightly indeed before college closed.




      Finally on Christmas Even Will called on her and when he was about to go she followed him downstairs from their apartment into the hall and as she turned to go upstairs again threw him a kiss  To will, who had known only girls of another type, this seemed a real expression of affection and direct invitation to propose.  He caught her and kissed her to which she made no objection.  But the hall of an apartment house is no place for a declaration and he left soon, I think, with only that kiss.  He says he was too bewildered to remember now just how it happened; he was taken off guard.  But he was infatuated and when he got home that night wrote a proposal, the "Christmas Letter."


        After that kiss, though she did not consider herself engaged, he felt himself bound.  When they were together she allowed him all the freedom of a fiancé, kissed him, etc.  To one brought up to think of such things in the way Will had been this must very soon have begun to seem entirely wrong.  He had been taught to respect and honor all women and to not so much as touch them.  I know that he had never before kissed a girl since h became a young man.  His caresses were to be all for the girl he was to marry.  What a strange position this then: engaged, as he considered himself, to a girl who acted toward him when they were alone as his betrothed but who did not consider herself engaged to him.  He wanted to ask her father for her hand as he thought proper but of course she would not listen to that proposal.


         In February a young man, an acquaintance of his and of Miss Bower's and of the same name, a young sport, came to him and told him various things about her; that she was a flirt, that she was willfully leading him on that she had other admirers equally favored, that he himself was one, that she would go to the Hotel Trafalgar [not too respectable a place], that she had been there with him, and that she drank cocktails.


        Will was angered, for whatever regrets he occasionally had even then, at his connection with her, he believed her the fine, charming young girl she appeared to him and he took her part as he would have had she been openly his fiancé.  He so frightened Mr. Bowker that that young man took back everything he had said.  To show how much faith he had in Miss Bowker, Will determined to urge his suit still more vigorously and did so so successfully that in June she consented to consider herself engaged also but secretly.  They were engaged but it must be secret.  She could give no satisfactory reason for the secrecy.  The new position was no happier than the old and Will began bitterly to regret his haste.  His suspicions having  been aroused and the infatuation spent, he began to question.  Little by little he learned that she had been kissed by nearly every fellow she had known, she admitted to having gone to the Trafalgar with Mr. Bowker and also that she had drunk cocktails (champagne, but just a little.)  He caught her telling him deliberate lies.  She contradicted herself continually, but nevertheless she fascinated him.  Finally, perhaps a 9 month year after the first Christmas "kiss" he decided; after talking the matter over carefully with a friend who also knew her, that she must consent to an open engagement.  This would do away with the necessity of deceit, make their position known to their friends and make everything open.  Otherwise the engagement must be broken off or at least suspended until such time as he could give her a home and ask her to marry him.


        Whenever he talked of it she began to cry and by kisses and caresses persuaded him to continue as they were.  Finally he set a date: the twenty-first of June, I think, as the day for decisions, but she again overruled him.  The next week he went home for his summer vacation, worried and tired out in mind and body for he suffered also from what he then thought was dyspepsia.  When he arrived in Duluth he considered himself free to tell of his engagement to whomever he wished and did so.  He talked it over again carefully with Albin and Mr. Clough and finally decided to break his engagement.  He wrote Miss Bowker of his decision and obtained his release early in August.