Provo, Utah April 29, 1915
Mr. John Reeve
Why can’t I say what I should? But dear if I ever wanted the freedom of expression I do tonight. If I was inspired when I wrote “A One” I feel I am doubly so tonight tho I doubt if I can say what I feel. But if I were with you I think I could talk without my heart were too sore because of the anxiety I have caused you, Won’t you forgive that and with your help and God’s I shall try to never again encourage such pernicious sentiments – pernicious because they are not of Him!
But why didn’t you get my letter yesterday? I have received one every day since my return and I have been so pleased to be remembered, tho it goes without saying that I did not deserve such respect – But I will be! And now dear. I feel that I can face anything for you, be it interference, debt, poverty, hardship in whatever form it may come. I need just this to show me I am no cad! I was hard on you, but it was a very bitter disappointment to me to find myself so weak.
Oh! Say! Things happen every day and tho I feel some of them are directly providential, Yet I feel small that I need so much urging! Yesterday I went to town to get that wax and post your letter. On the way to school – went into the millinery store to look at a hat. The proprietor is Nellie Taylor, a former wife of Apostle John W. Taylor. Well, one thing led to another, She has recently left our Ward. Spoke of her regard for our Bp. I told you of him didn’t I? Then she said she didn’t feel as some do about his approaching marriage. Then says “say Mary, God often gives us college lessons while we are yet in the grades and tho they are stupendous and crushing they often are made of the material with which our eternal reward is secured. When my marriage came to me, It was the most stridant event that ever came into my life. But dark, bitter and hard as it was, it was right and I took the step and I have never regretted it.” And I thot thank God that His estimate of me is such that He deems me worthy to take what many appear to many to be too great and steep to be considered! Now that is only one item. She said that to me without any knowledge of my situation – merely a machine to help throw the light on the correct screen at the proper time and place.
Well I had a small official office to perform with our disciplinarian, and he is a very congenial man. And among common place remarks, later picked up these verses and read them to me. They appealed to me as being of some literary value. But – their message screamed to me your bravery and heroism in offering me a place where I can be of service with a companion whom I can respect, honor, and whom I feel I do now nearly love, will later, for it is coming all the time! And I’m sure I’d kiss you again now if you were here. Is that the message you want to hear?
Oh! Those are only two! I could tell you others! But I’ll do that later. Yes dear true to my understanding I wrote you Tuesday and yesterday too. I’m glad you trust my promise. Monday and Tuesday I was laid by for a number of reasons. But I feel well today. Tho people at school tell me I look like I’d been in the hospital. But tho I’ve had some physical pain my mental anguish was most telling. And you know why! Now, dear, I’m wondering what that great big surprise is you’re going to spring on me soon! And I’m trying to keep myself in readiness for anything that may happen, hoping I’ll hear again so I can meet you before long if you come to Richfield – Find it is about as far away as Delta and takes much longer to get there. But I’m waiting your letter tomorrow. And hope you’ve gotten mine before now. Yes, dear, I smile at who I think will very likely be married to John Reeve in June! I think maybe the writer may have to give consent to even Miss Stevens now! June sure! Tho the folks want me to come home. I’ll go where you want me to go! With love and prayers and best wishes. I am as ever
Hinckley, Utah, May 1, 1915
My Dear Mary:
“A 1” takes a back seat to-day sure. Paul says something about being caught up into the third heaven. Well I’m satisfied with where I am right now.
Say, dear, I was joking Ellen Lyman to-day at Priesthood meeting about her husband taking a Lyman out of this Stake. I finally told her that I’d bring a better one back.
Well, yesterday and to-day they’ve been trying to hold the mutual meet here. But the snow stopped the outdoor events yesterday, and it is doing it again today. Afton had no competition so she won. Tho the judges called it more of a sketch than a speech and didn’t give her quite as much commendation that they might have done.
If I’d been permitted the pleasure of the company of the sweetest girl in the world I would have gone to the dance last night. But as it was I accepted the invitation of Bro. Gardner, and so I took all the children – and went to the show, and I couldn’t think of going to the dance without you to-night, So I’ll stay at home and read the letter that out climaxes the climax, The one that eclipses the sun, and if I don’t quit reading it right now, you won’t get a letter to-morrow. For the fact is I can’t quit long enough to write this letter. Yes, dear, this letter contains the message that my soul delights to hear. It can’t be beaten in the world.
Now, dear, that is a beautiful poem, and I’m just going to repeat the last verse, because it breathes my sentiments too intensely: “Give me your hand…And the Strength that is there, Shall waken my own anew. I can force the fight and win, by the Gods, But not for myself…for you.”
I didn’t get a letter, yesterday, either – I mention this not by way of complaint, But by way of warning – in case, by any reason my letters cease coming to you or yours to me, we must not doubt each other’s fidelity and confidence.
Speaking of love, my queen, if there’s a more genuine definition of it in all the pages of human history than what you’ve expressed in the following lines, I’d like to see it. It can’t be found. This is purely and sacredly divine: “I feel I can face anything for you, be it interference, gossip, debt, poverty, hardship in whatever form it may come.” Say, my dear, as I think of you making such an expression as that I am reminded of Hamlet’s tribute to his own father, “A combination and a form, indeed, where every God did seem to set his seal.” Such is what I think of you.
May heaven bless you, in body, mind and heart, is the sincere wish of your very devoted and affectionate lover.
Provo, Utah April 30, 1915
Mr. John Reeve
Dear Brother Reeve,
As I read over your letters, I notice that you do not tell me you love me except in an off hand way and in my first one you said you wanted to. Now what I am coming to is this. I think I see thru it all. And if it were a problem I should proceed to solve it in this way. The man who has asked me to be his wife is one who is above the common run – One who is elevated above the class who allows one’s personal feelings to dominate every item of existence and is carried along the line of least resistance. Your attitude in this as well as in your ennobling love for Sister Emma points out to me your superiority and shows me plainly you are not the creature of circumstances that in all your varying experiences, You never lose sight of the ennobling purpose God has implanted in your heart and soul and the which carefully nurture and care for feeling that God never demands more of His children than He feels they require for the accomplishment of His purpose for them. And these things make me feel and determinedly resolve that I’ll not disappoint Him – That these affairs on earth that press upon us show me what is right and I thank God He points the way to well nigh insufferable obstacles to show me I’m a woman. I can meet what is best and I trust implicitly on His care to bring me thru and I feel dear J.R. with you I can and will be working out God’s designs for me. And sure as the world if you were here I’d kiss you twice! And I wish you were. Am I not progressing nicely?
May 1st. You rascal. I’d thought of everything under the sun. But this last proposition outdistances them all! But I can’t answer now. I’m on my to American to a faculty party and shall answer you later. But you are the most insurmountable of all objects I ever met. But I love you the more for that and between the two I feel we’ll pull off a pretty big stunt down there in Hinckley! I will write to Uncle Marion and see what the chances are he could marry us on May 18 – which was mother’s wedding day. But excuse haste now. I’ve never cut you off before, but will have to now. Please don’t forget to write me every day. I’m afraid I’m getting terribly in earnest. But you don’t care. You say you don’t. Neither do I! Don’t worry about those infernal items. I think they’ve departed.
Sunday Morning, 8 a.m. 5-2-15
My Dear Mary,
I am just ready, with Bros. Robison and Wright to go to visit the Sutherland SS. – the little group of houses out north, where you and I went that day you came. I wish I had the same companion today. Oh! How I do enjoy your company. Yes, the most enjoyable, companionable companion to be found in all the world for me!
Say, dear, do you know I am booking those kisses, so I’ll have a sweet little bunch coming to me when I get up there, and if I should happen to make an overdraft I’ll return them with interest.
You will pardon me for not mentioning money matters before. But I hope you’ll be perfectly frank with me, and tell me if you need any in preparing for the great event.
Hinckley, Utah Sunday night 5-2-15
My dear Mary:
Upon my return about 7 to-night I was greeted by your beautiful letter, and I wish I had language to express to you my full appreciation of that letter. But God knows I’d like to be worthy of the tribute you have paid me, and with His help and the influence of your beautiful life upon mine I will be worthy of it.
I’m thinking just now of the climax of our last Sunday night’s meeting with each other, And how you didn’t resist the farewell kiss. And that you opened your window to greet me still again, And then coupling that with your closing statement in this letter about the “items departing”, I feel so inexpressibly happy that words blunder in trying to express it. However, I perceive in you something too deep to fathom. Not because of its puzzling nature. But because of the wealth of human tenderness and sublime devotion and confidence in the unfailing purposes of the Almighty, which, like a perpetual fountain is constantly sending forth a stream of absolute unselfishness.
But say dear, do you know how breathlessly I’ve waited the answer to that mysterious letter, and the way you started the answer “rascal” tickles me all over. And I’m real sure that I love you the more for it. However I shall still wait very anxiously the complete answer, But it must be very plain to you, dear, that if this is deferred till the date you suggest, 18th, one week of genuine sublimity will have been lost – gone beyond recall. However I’ll not be arbitrary on that point, since the 18th is such a significant date.
Am just about ready to start for Richfield. Mark, Carlyle, and Florence are going, and to stay.
Do you know I was sorry when I woke up this morning, Because I had such a pretty dream about you – I thought I heard the music of your voice again – But dreams come true, And I’m sure I’ll not be disappointed in this one.
Now, my dear, I feel that I must make certain explanations to my folks over there. I’ll tell them all about you and I’m sure they’ll be well pleased – Tell them no definite date, But give them to know that it will be soon, alright?
Of course as I interpret your letter the date will be on May the 18th, which will be agreeable with me, But it seems that I’ll not know definitely till you hear from Uncle Marion, So I’ll likely get home before I could get the information from you.
I’ll not be in a condition to write you every day on this trip. But will write you from Richfield.
I didn’t get a letter from you this morning. But my confidence is firm and unshaken in you. So I shall take your last two letters with me upon which I shall feast my heart till I return the latter part of the week. So until then I shall say to you my beloved, Be of good cheer, cherish peace in your soul, for my heart is so anxious to speak to you the sweetest message in the world – Love, So I am living and shall continue to live fondly in the memory of you, Whom I so dearly love
Very affectionately yours
Richfield, Utah May 6, 1915
My Beloved Mary,
If I can translate my thots into words I’d like to tell you how I feel. But first let me say I had a very fine wake with Mary last night – not my Mary, But Will’s. However, I detailed to her the sweet story of our courtship days, And if you could have eavesdropped us, The following would never be written and you would have been converted that what I’m going to say is not overdrawn in the least.
I could have used a lot of description words in describing you, But I didn’t. I simply told her what others had told me of you. I quoted freely your own language, especially your unselfish devotion to principle in approaching this mission. The recognition on your part of the seriousness and magnitude of its accompanying responsibility, And especially would your heart have swelled with emotion as I related the little introductory scene with Florence. It was then that Mary’s eyes glistened and her whole being manifested the deepest admiration for the real worth of the woman whose heart and hand I am seeking so eagerly to win. And with all the power of language at her command did she endeavor to express that admiration.
And as I tried to tell how the hand of God had led our paths and our lives together, The same sweet spirit that had brought conviction to our souls made her feel that the Almighty had and was inspiring the movement.
Now, my dear, that in brief is the story, But it has added to my testimony of the Divinity of our mission together, and as I stand gazing into the inpenetrable future my heart goes out in praise and thanksgiving to Him whose purposes are wise and fail not only as we His children neglect their part.
The first night from home I had a real nice visit with Emma’s brother at Holden, And the next with Jake’s folks at Aurora and last night here, and it was one continual line of warmth and good feeling for us, and as I think of it now, I wish I had arranged for your visit here, For I can plainly see how very warmly you would have been welcomed.
In my waking hours I find enthroned in my thots and feelings a real Queen – one to whom I shall ever owe a debt of gratitude, and one for whom I shall ever praise God. For His great kindness to me in sending you into my life. And in my dreams I seem to be in my feelings so intensely happy, and this moment if I could have the sweet embrace and the inspiring look from the windows of the soul which has aroused mine to all that is noble and unselfishly sublime in your life, I could feel to be the wealthiest man in the world.
Dear, if I don’t close now, You’ll not get this letter to-morrow, for the train leaves here shortly, and I do so want you to get this soon, and in the morning I shall leave for home, and shall look forward with extreme pleasure not only for an answer to this letter, But from the ones at home now awaiting for me, But from the one from Uncle Marion, So I’ll know what our little program is.
So I’ll close praying that the sweet spirit of God may bring the sunshine of peace to your lovely soul, For I trust you, and have full confidence in the integrity of your soul.
With tender, grateful love and affection for you
I am sincerely