Hinckley, Utah, May 11, 1915
My Dear Mary,
My feet struck terra firma to-day at 10:30, and will strike Provo next Sunday morning at 4:15, and I shall be delighted to join you at any hour thereafter to go on the interurban to Salt Lake City – You suggested 6 am. However you can write me if that is not a satisfactory hour.
I got two letters from you today. Both posted together. You may be curious to know why I am coming Sunday, since the eventful day is not till Tuesday. Well the fact is, I understand Monday is your school Saturday, and so you wouldn’t be in school and so I’d enjoy the privilege of trying to entertain you those two previous days. At the same time sort of enjoying a paradisiacal glory myself.
Say, my dear, let me tell you something. You asked me how I reconciled those two statements. I don’t reconcile them. One’s a fact the others an assumption, cling to the fact, discard the other, and burn the letter from which the latter was taken, and forget forever its contents. And please, dear, do me this favor, If ever I so far forget myself as to either intentionally or unintentionally would your feelings come right up, throw your arms around my neck, and tell me frankly what I said, and what I ought to have said, and what I ought not to have said, and I feel sure you’ll find me big enough to say “Mary, forgive me”, I’ll make amends. Now, my dear, you’ll do that won’t you?
I’ll write Uncle Marion that I shall be pleased to have him perform the ceremony for us on the 18th.
I delivered the flowers to mother today so you see dear, they have served a double purpose. I got my message from them yesterday, and she got hers today, and she expressed her appreciation to you for them.
Sorry I could not have been with you to the ball, But say, dear, the next time you present me with a program, see that you do it before the ball comes off. And present one that’s not filled up. I see, too, that one name appears there three times. I’m after his scalp, and I’ll get it too, If he doesn’t stay in Salt Lake on his own side of the fence. I know him. It simply shows his good sense, however, for he seems to have found out where the sweetest flowers grow, where the gem of purest ray serene is found, So I’ll ask him to congratulate me next week.
Now, dear, it seems that my letter of yesterday to you is sufficiently plain that you’ll understand that if I was coming you would get a wire, I’d sure telegraph to-day if I thought you’d be in doubt.
Mary, it is so very kind of you to write me such nice letters, of course such could only come from a soul that is pre-eminently superior to the ordinary.
Praying God to bless and bring you sweet comfort.
I am yours affectionately
Hinckley, Utah 5-11-15
My Dear Sweetheart:
Can you presume to guess the time I begin to write this letter? No, you didn’t cut close. Well – 11:16 pm. How’s that. Perhaps, I’d better tell you where I’ve been. Over to the bishop’s, But of course you couldn’t presume to guess what for, and then I went over to Pres. Hinckley’s to get his signature before he got away, as he was taking Rulon to the City to undergo an operation for appendicitis, And as I sit here gazing at the line which tells of the nature of the work, And the bride’s name, I am carried away in thought to the real Mary, and I seem to find her to be one of the most profound, deep, and interesting subjects it has been my privilege to study. It seems that something profoundly deep and wonderful is constantly being produced from her intensely prolific mind. And, it undoubtedly looks selfish in me to keep turning my eyes on your letters instead of writing you one, For I can find so much pleasure in studying your letters that I go to sleep reading them, and commence again as soon as I wake in the morning.
Your soul to soul visit with “Aunt Ann” reminds me of my visit with Ethel, Emma’s niece, who married a widower, and I’ve almost a notion to send and ask her to come to the City just for the privilege of meeting you. At any rate, she made me promise to bring you over to see her, and I’ll do it too, some day sure.
I had the big boys in just before I started this letter, and as I talked about the coming event, and read them, a few extracts from your letter referring to them, their mamma and grandma they seemed to be real serious and determined to treat you with great respect. Of course they’ll have to do that.
Say, dear, do you know how many kisses you’ve promised me? Well, I’m going to collect just the minute I see you. Oh! Of course, not all of them, but a nice lot.
Mary, I must close for to-night, for you know I’ve just got to read, and study the two letters I got from you today. For I am studying the author, thru her writings, And I’ll finish this when I get another of your golden gems to-morrow.
1:30 p.m. I don’t know how to start this letter now, for my mind is so deeply absorbed in the contents of your letter. However I think I understand Albert’s letter, and I remember a personal conversation we had on the same subject when you were down, But there seems to be something incomprehensible in your confession, And because of that, perhaps, I’d better wait till I see you personally before I attempt to answer it, But suffice it to say that while I shall be deeply engaged in attempting to study it out, I am still unshaken, for under no circumstances would I permit myself to be swerved until I have threshed it out with you personally.
Now, then, dear, it is so kind and sweet of you to permit the announcement to appear in print. Just read it to mother. She wanted to know what paper. I said some Provo paper. Anyway it looks just right to me.
Now, in regard to Albert’s letter. He can certainly put his thoughts in a clean cut manner. And if I’m not badly deceived they come from a clean cut man. And I feel sure that I see a mother and a father crowned in the brightness of this glory of the celestial kingdom looking back upon the thorns and crosses of this life as being too insignificant to be remembered as compared to the wealth of human worth and Godlike (ness) found developing in their posterity.
Now, dear I’m so glad that my Sunday suggestion of coming to Provo, also originated with you, for it more definitely assures me of my welcome.
The little party at Aunt Emma’s, I’m so glad it was made pleasant for you, for I’m sure you deserved it and more and while my soul revolts at empty promises it does go out to Him who gave us our being pleading for the strength and power to make for you such a blessed life as God would have you enjoy.
Before closing I wish to emphasize a thought you dropped in yesterday’s letter. “that God helps us more readily if we smile”, and with you I want to get the keynote and together let our hearts and voices sing with a sublimity of its truth until our souls shall be saturated with its music. God Bless you, my dear Mary,
Provo, Utah May 11, 1915
Mr. John Reeve,
Dear Brother Reeve – 12:15 (am or pm, not quite sure)
Your letter of yesterday just came, thank you very much. The depth of love and devotion you express for me suggests again that I must be very careful and diligent or you will find you expect too much of me. But I could cry from vexation that you haven’t gotten my last letters! Oh! Say dear what is the matter! I believe I get all of yours – and I write every day. True I didn’t do so last week, But aimed to have you one in Richfield and one on your return, and this is my fourth since receiving yours from Richfield. And if you feel dear that I am not to blame for your not getting them – God Bless you for it. For I can imagine how deeply it would wound me if I couldn’t hear from you. But tho I do dear love you more than I ever dreamed it possible to love anyone on earth – And infinitely more than I once thot I could, I mustn’t take up the whole letter telling you of it.
I’ve another letter from Albert, I shall let you read something and tho I can’t in so many words enlarge on it, It strikes a vital spot in my life and I feel I need you to assist me in the corrective discipline of that tendency and May God help us to do it judiciously!
Of course, dear, without I receive a telegram that you are coming I’ll not meat that train in the morning. Because I will take it for granted that you have heard from me. So don’t worry about that! But write to Uncle Marion and make the proper arrangements for the 18th, and send me word as I’ll not be surprised to see you any time! Friday night is a faculty play – Niobe – give by the lady members of the faculty and the wives of the Profs of course I do not take part, except to act on the committee. But if you should come up to it, Why, I wouldn’t object a bit! Or Saturday or Sunday – preferably Sunday – But you know your affairs! And mine too for that matter! Be sure and write Uncle Marion!
Last evening Aunt Emma Wood had a crowd of friends over there – imagine: entertaining in my honor! And the presents, tho I didn’t know how to accept them, were beautiful! Aunt Ann was there! And we had a very enjoyable time! The announcement enclosed came out in the paper yesterday and I’ve been receiving hearty congratulations all day!
Say, dear, you are a good boy! But excuse me being frank! That is not much of a credit to you for you are of the type that it is easier for you to do right than wrong! Such has been the nature of the schooling you have given yourself! As I read your letters I really believe you do love me a little and if that and my feelings for you may unite and so call for God’s benediction on this crisis (?) in our lives. I feel that we will have the power to succeed, and make good in the designed path He has led us to! That is my constant prayer J.R. and I’m sure it is yours, tho at times you seem so very sure about how smoothly we will glide, after the link is made. – I’m not pessimistic no! But I see such room for caution! And in your love for me or mine for you we might lose the scent of our God designed purpose and if so all would prove to be chaos! So tho our marriage may be on the installment plan – it can be a reasonably happy one if we do our vital part!
Now dear, I’m going to confess to you a weakness, A vital one if left un-disciplined – that is my love of absolute independence. And so in making me endeavor to tone that into reason. I am going to send you Albert’s letter and you’ll probably divine a note in it that may suggest to you an explanation for my rampant actions the Sunday I acted so! I feel this is due you and because of my confidence in you – not because it is easy. I’m doing this thing for I see tho I am a mature woman who has tried to round of her perplexing corners, I must make reasonable concession to the man with whom I have promised to share my life – And this costs me dear – Why it should I don’t know. But, it does – And one impulse is “do” the other is don’t and so I don’t know which to rely on. But because the perversity of my nature I feel the thing that is the very most difficult for me to do is the thing I should do. And so I have very nearly decided to make a clean break of everything, tho I know between man and wife everything shouldn’t be revealed. But here it is – it is well nigh unthinkable that I could ask even the one man in the whole world for money – much as I should like it – and if he were (to) make the advances and offer it I would feel sure to refuse it! Now tell me dear is that abnormal? If it is I want it different! I have never had anything given me since I was a mere child except as a gift. I have kept myself and now since the estate is divided I feel I am using my own. There, dear you have a vital secret – can you keep it? And tell me what is right? My confidence in you will enable me to take your decision as I’m sure it well meant!
With love and best wishes – Mary
Provo, Utah May 12, 1915
Mr. John Reeve
Dear Brother Reeve:
Your letter came in due time, Am glad you got mine. Can’t understand the delay! But Monday is not on Saturday – indeed it is not – But I can’t plan on having only one day with you can I! My last class Friday is 5:15 pm and my first hour Monday 9 am. So, much as I should enjoy you Friday and Monday, you see the situation. But I’m game and will make up for the time! So you come Friday for the “Niobe” – or Saturday or Sunday or Monday, or even Tuesday morning if you have weighed matters well and feel we can’t waste more than one day getting married!
Of course you have written Uncle Marion before now. But laugh with me – I wrote yesterday because I was afraid the mails might again be tied up!
No! Dear, I’m not in doubt about anything except that my wants far exceed my necessities and that I’ll not be ready for the great event even if you have given me my way and put it off till I was willing. Say, I don’t care when you come, only let me know and then let it be before Tuesday if you can and then both of us go up on the interurban and back here and then! If you come Saturday you may be able to attend the big contest meet from this section which includes Nephi! I’ve promised to help Mrs. Speckhart here in the house, and she go to the meetings. Of course if you come I’ll have to change – If you won’t go to the meetings all day without me – But Sunday we could have a pleasant visit. The folks here go at noon over to her father’s place and we’ll be here alone! And then we may talk of the promises you speak of!
If I hadn’t become victimized by those “infernal items” during my visit down there we could have planned on so many things. As it is, we’ll have to try again and then instead of making this one trip do for our plans, as well as other things, We may have to come up again for the other purpose later on! When I am unpossessed! Am I right!
Hasn’t my letter to you in Richfield reached you yet? What is the matter? I’ve been reading today again and again your letter of the 27th. And the more I read it the more I see in it to like. Don’t you know I’m going to bind them all and when I need to call you to repentance with my arms around your neck I’ll just refer to some of these extravagant declarations of love, and the enjoy your confusion.
Well, I must close – I’m wondering how you are getting along without Florence there to care for you a little bit! Write and tell me everything for I’m slightly interested.
With Love, Mary
Small clipping sent to J.R. in previous letter (3/4"x2")
“Bishop and Mrs. Bayless of Grayson announce the engagement of their sister Miss Mary Lyman, now a student of the B.Y.U., to Mr. John Reeve of Hinckley, Utah. The wedding will take place in the near future.”
Hinckley, Utah. May 13, 1915
My Beloved –
Just a line today dear, as I’m head over heels in irrigation water: But I’m very happy to be remembered in the nice letter you sent me today.
I hope too, that when you begin to draw those “extravagant statements” upon me that you will kindly remember it is written, “Blessed are the merciful.”
Say, Mary, you know how long one of the Lord’s days are don’t you? Well, I said we could spend one day for the wedding, But I didn’t say which one. I thot, perhaps, you’d suggest that, so wait till you find what I have up my sleeve.
As I interpret yesterday’s letter I see nothing alarming. But for fear my impressions are incorrect, I’ll defer that, too, till I see you.
I thank you very much for your kind invitation to attend your college play, I feel sure that I should have been there had it not been for this irrigation. But as I interpret your Sunday invitation I may meet you at noon upon that day, which as for anything I know of now I shall be pleased to accept. My stopping place will possibly be at my wife’s cousin’s place – Jess Harmon’s for he has repeatedly insisted that I call on him.
Kindly accept my love
P.S. I do find lots of inspiration in Albert’s letter.