22. Impossible to Be Your Friend, 1876

New York City Grammar School No. 50 assembled for morning exercises, 1870s. LOC: 1s43806.
New York City Grammar School No. 50 assembled for morning exercises, 1870s. LOC: 1s43806.
Poster for the 1876 Centennial.
Poster for the 1876 Centennial.
In February of 1876 Emma, her sister Aida, and their mother were in New York City. Aida, age fifteen, was attending school, like Emma had some years earlier.

“I did not go to school this morning because I did not have time to learn my lessons on Saturday…”—The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 188.

Emma was helping care for two-month-old Tommy, son of her cousin Addie. On March 30 Emma wrote Chester, “As it is impossible for me to be your friend, I hope for a place on the list of acquaintances,” but also asked when Chester would visit them in New York City. Chester replied on April 17.

Walton, New York, April 17, 1876
My Friend Emma,
Yours of March 30 came in due time, was perused with pleasure and now as it is not the least possible trouble, but a pleasure instead, as it has always been before, I will try and manufacture a short epistle which cannot fail to pass unnoticed the keenest critic….

But enough of this. Spring is knocking at the door, the birds returning again with their joyful songs. Every thing is pleasant without. How I would like to be a little time with them as Spring bursts forth bringing with it so many things that make us happy. What better time or more appropriate season could we choose to visit our friends.

As to coming to New York I have not yet decided. I am yet in Walton. I may stay here more than a month and in less than one week I may leave town. I don’t think I shall go to the Centennial.

Does Aida move with you every month or does she attend one school or don’t you move out of the Distr. where she goes to school?

As to your last letters I can burn it if it is necessary but the envelope can’t be found at present. It must be lost or burnt. I can’t tell which.

Am now taking up the term friendship…I have no copy of any letter…It is my wish of course that you should be my friend with all others, but not for me to say whether you shall be or not. That thing is for you to say as well as act.

I’ll send you a slip of one of your letters. Compare it with the above, then say I have not the meaning…

Please take me to mean as I say and not the opposite. Your letters are not as I said of mine. One a week would not be too often. But that would be too many for you.

“Seven a day” nearly as many as I write in a year. If my letters are not dull, you must judge them different from what I can, but now I close hoping to hear from you soon and see you, too.

Yours truly, Chester Beers

Previous Posts
1. Is that the New Teacher?
2. The Math Tutor
3. Chester Beers to Friend Emma, Correspondence Continues
4. What is the News? October 29, 1869
5. The Merry Laugh of the Village School
6. Teaching Advice in a Poem
7. I Would Not Wait for Erie’s Train
8. 1870 Highland
9. Mrs. Prindle’s Soliloquy
10. February 28, 1870, What Is the News?
11. Who Teaches in the Village, April 1870
12. Fair Hagan’s Pool, June 1870
13. Shades of Night, 1870
14. Deposit, New York, 1871
15. Dear Father, January 1872
16. Emma Attends Albany Normal, March 1872
17. Lumberland Schoolhouse, 1872
18. Verdant Meadows, June 1, 1873
19. I Have Been Very Busy, August 30, 1873
20. 1874–1875
21. 1876, A Challenging Year

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