A Novel by Lucy Marx

I Improve the Quiet of this Evening: Letters from Lucy

Here I will be posting a selection of letters my great great grandmother, Lucy Hale Todd, wrote to her husband, Joseph Scott Todd, from 1860-1863, while Joseph was serving with the 48th Regiment of the Union Army and Lucy was living at his family homestead in Rowley.

The title of this section comes from the first letter of Lucy’s I have posted.


Rowley March 11, (18)63

My Dearest Husband,

lucy-toddI improve the quiet of this evening in writing. Grandma and I are sitting alone, the children are all abed and asleep. One month of spring has passed. It does not seem much like spring here now. The ground is covered with snow to the depth of several inches and it still continues snowing.

I started with Aunt Mary and Irene to go to Ipswich this afternoon but it commenced snowing when we got as far as Frank Hales, so we turned round and come back. It will be just one year tomorrow since you come home. I should not (have) believed then that you would have been back in the army at this time and don’t think that you would either but we cannot see what is before us.

I received those papers safe yesterday and carried them up to Mr. Bishop myself last night. I intended to have sent Lorenzo up tonight to see how he made out with them if it had not been so stormy. I think if I can get the money by paying five percent I had better do it for I shall want some money this spring and it will be sometime before you will be likely to send me any. I got the money for the cow, but you know I had to carry some down to Sally Hale and then I have bought Luo* a suit of clothes and some things for the other children. I have not wasted any of it you may be sure but twenty dollars does not go a great ways when goods are so high. The prospect is now that cotton is coming down. I hope it may. I certainly try to be as prudent as possible and don’t think you will find any fault with me when I come to render up my accounts to you.

I read something in the paper yesterday that has worried me very much. It was concerning the time of the nine months men. It said that it was generally thought that it would be reckoned from the time of the mustering in of the field officers and then gave the time of all the Mass: Reg: if that is correct the time of the 48th will not be out until the 8th of Sept. I could not sleep last night thinking of it. If you have got to stay in that climate through July and Aug I am afraid you will not live to get home again. Do you think that is correct? I want you to give me your opinion of it.

I think it is uncertain about your receiving this before you sail but hope you may. Aunt Mary wants you to write all the particulars about George, how he looks and appears. He does very well about writing, better than I expected he would, but he does not write much about himself, and his mother is longing to have you get there as she thinks she shall here more about him.

Only think how far away from me you are going. It seems as though I could not have it so but I suppose I must submit to it. We are all in the hands of the Lord, and he is as able to preserve us in one place as well as another but I don’t realize that when I am thinking of you and all the dangers to which you may be exposed. It is my constant prayer that you may be preserved and that we may meet again on earth. God grant that it may be so.

I received a short letter from you today. I was very much pleased. Short ones are a great deal better than none. I have read that poetry over two or three times. It has made me cry to read it. It is very pleasing to me to receive anything from you of that kind. There is nothing that makes me so happy as to be assured that you love me. You know I have been foolish enough sometimes to think you did not very much, but I never mean to think so again. But it is past ten o’clock and I must go to bed. I wish you was here to go with me, I will write a little more in the morning.

*”Luo,” Louis Clifford Todd, was Margaret and Joseph’s eldest son (and my great great grandfather), born March 18th, 1855.

Speak, Wood; Stone, Whisper

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 15 other subscribers