Lowell Mill Girl Letters

April 4, 1873

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL 
CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY 
 LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS

WRITTEN BY ADDIE HOLMES1 
TO SISTER LILLA

                        Lowell Mass. April 14th 1873 
                        Sunday Afternoon

No. 21 Lowell Corp.2 
Lowell Mass.

Dear Sister Lilla-

      I was so glad to hear from you again. I am sure I don’t know when I heard from your own self, last, it was such a very long time ago; but I heard, last summer by way of friends that you were in Canada and I sometimes wondered if you were still there. What you would do next and I ought to write to Mrs. Sinclair- 
but I have so much to do and many letters to write. If you see her give her my love, and if you like, you can read her as much of this letter, as you choose. I should like a talk with her, but that’s “out of the question”, and I’ve too much, to say to attempt to writing it.

      I hope you will be prospered in your plans, if they are best, and I see no reason to doubt it.

      Is it babyish? – I wish I could feel your arms about me, and one of your well remem-bered kisses on my lips. Please  write soon – very soon. Sister Addie

  1 Addie Lydia Holmes b: 1851, Strafford, NH; parents:  
     Daniel J. Homes and Eliza J. Foye. 
  2 Lowell Carpet Company, Market Street. 

 

 

    I’ve had a letter from Persie – I wish you and I were there tonight shall we ever meet again?

      Let’s see – “what’s the  news from Strafford.3 You knew Bill Clark and Emma Hazeltine were married 
did you not? And Calvin Roberts, Herbert Caswell, Nettie Prescott also. Albertus Wood has let his place to 
Mr. Caswell, and has gone to Bridgewater (VT)  Frank Quimby is here in Lowell, working at stone-cutting. He went to church, with me yesterday A.M. – I think that is about all that I can tell you about S-

      Thanks for the kind remembrances from “Grand-Mother” and “Uncle Darius”.

Please say to them that I am glad to be remembered; and am sure I shall never forget the Mother and brother, of one who was so dear to me.

      When you write to Geo. –Tell him I am so glad toknow that he is trying to follow in the Master’s foot-steps. “Press on”, dear brother, a little while, to struggle, and then – love, rest, home and Mother. Dearest 
Lilla, do not be so long silent again.

      Write often, will you not? had you entirely forgotten your “one time” sister Addie. Your letter put such musings to flight -  and my source of wondering since then, has been, when and what, will I write to Lilla

      I realized, fully, I think, when I read your letter that you are no longer the Lilla of nine years ago! I remember how you looked that first autumn that I ever saw you. The many strange sayings and doings you said and did, and how you have changed, little by little, since, until – suddenly - before I had thought of such a thing, - I find the impulsive, loving little girl, metamorphosed into an enthusiastic, cultured, young woman. Great-indeed, has been that change from then, till now!

      Your letter did me good, I  think, and yet it roused such a conflict of desires and hopes and old unsatisfied longings after knowledge that my mind is no clearer yet than our mountain streams during an April freshet.

      I do wish I didn’t find it so hard finding out what duty, is. I read of of people who seem to see two roads 
ahead. The one, duty, the other inclination but, alas; who ever heard of five or six roads converging from one joint, and all of them, or at least, two or three, looking as though each was duty?

      I am not to come to New Hampton this spring if ever. Almost every one I have ever talked with about it, favor my going to school. I wish to go so much; but on the other hand, - if I take my money and go to school, and then live to see my mother taken from me, killed by work, care, and anxiety, just as I “was going to” to be able to help her; and my brothers confirmed in a course of careless unconcern if not in actual “badness”; shall I not then bitterly regret that I had not given up the long -cherished and much-loved plan of going to school?

      I have spoken of only two of the “roads”; - they seem to be the chief ones. A year ago or a little more, there was another road running beside these, but I turned my eyes from it, and now it lies stretching back into the past only. My feet may not walk there in again.

      I am nearly sick, today. I went to church this A.M. and to s. School; but remained at home this P.M. and have read a little, and written a little, as you see. But I must go to meeting this evening I guess, so will finish this another time.

Monday Evening

      I am too tired for anything tonight but I ought to finish this, so will say something, and if it smacks too 
strongly of the “dolefuls”, you must make due allowance for the state of body and mind in which it is written, Upon the whole, I think I will not write about myself tonight; I should be sorry tomorrow, for whatever I should Mother does not wish me to. She and my brothers and sister want me and need me. That is, provided I became to them, what I might, God helping me. Mother is very much broken to pieces for a woman of her years, has bought a farm, and partly paid for it and now is worried and worked far beyond her strength  in the vain endeavor to pay for it.

      She has Grand-mother to take care of and she , nearly helpless. My brothers  both at home, and anxious to be doing something for themselves, and wishing the farm had never been purchased.  
Susie is married---“For love”, on her part at least. I do not certainly know, but fear that love will be ere long  about all she will have  to live upon. –Perhaps I am on the wrong side of the picture, and see only the “shady side”, but it is real to me, at least.

      If I put what money I have saved to go to school with into the farm (and I have already put in over a 
hundred dollars) and then go home and devote myself to that. –Mother would be relieved of the care and worry, and would probably have a home after a time.

      I might have more influence over my brothers, if I was with them, than any one else. Friends, here, say “don’t you do it”. The money will be only thrown away, and ever thing like that.

  3 Stafford, New Hampshire.