Letter from Asbury Coward to his future wife Elise, February 6, 1855


Letter from Asbury Coward to his future wife Elise, February 6, 1855


Letter from Asbury to his future wife Elise while he is at King's Mountain. He asks after her health and talks about her ability to play music. He tells her about the arrival of Spring in Yorkville and teases her with talk of other young ladies. He also mentions his and Jenkins visit to the actual King's Mountain and how the building project for their school is coming along.


A2009.6, Box 2 Folder 1


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York (S. C.)


[Page 1]

Yorkville Feby: 6th 1855

My Dearest Elise

Not having received an answer to either of my last two letters, I have concluded to write in order to keep from becoming impatient. I am not so anxious about the other contents of your expected letter as I am concerning that which will assure me of your good health. In your last letter you mentioned something about not feeling well, and - I will acknowledge it - I am somewhat anxious. I received a dear little letter from Heloise on Saturday, and in which she stated that you had gone to the Philharmonic rehearsal; and I concluded that you were well at that time. If I do not hear from you tomorrow I shall feel very badly. You have completely spoiled me, by writing two letters a week, and of course any omission sadly disappoints, or worries me. It was your fault that I have learned to look for so many, and you must therefore suffer the penalty for a while longer. When our love wears down into a matter of fact sort of an affair, I will be satisfied with one per week; but it is too

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young and ardent yet to be content with so little.

I must think you have the better time of the two. You can play four or five hours a day, and let your love-charged soul outflow in music, and when you study, your mind can follow the author in a quiet, unmolested manner, which gives neither fatigue nor surprise. But I am in a hubbub most of the day, and those few moments I claim for myself must be spent in silent musings which but increase the burden of my soul. If I only had my violin, and some quiet room shut out from others, I might be able to obtain some relief. I never could please anyone with my playing, as I can myself, simply because I never learn a tune to play it correctly. When alone, I only play as I feel, and the music (if such it may be called) which I make, though it produces in myself thrills of delight, is meaningless if not disagreeable to every one else. - If then I only had these opportunities, I imagine I could throw around you such exquisite music as would make the Seraphs envious.

Who is the tall cousin to whom you will speak only French, when he visits you? Is it cousin H-? I thought he would have taken fright by this time. However, it is possible he does not know that you are fiance’. Poor fellow, I cannot blame him, -

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I was foolish once myself.

You cannot imagine what a sudden change has been effected in our town. A week or two ago, every thing was gloomy from the chastisement of Winter, every thing looked cold, and were it not for the houses we would have been unable to identify the place with the lovely Yorkville. But now, notwithstanding the frosty breath that plays around, we imagine it is Spring. Our town is filled with young ladies. Tremble, fair sovereign for the possession of my heart’s empire, for many cunning glances have been thrown at me. You had better get your mother to get sick with you and prevail on your father to bring both up with him in the spring. It would make me very miserable if one of these lovely creatures should die through love for me. I will do all I can to prevent such a sad catastrophe, as a matter of course. I will always wear my ring - but, I will have to wear my glove also -. What shall I do? announce my subjection through an editorial. That will insult them! Oh! me I am afraid I will be lost! You had better write frequently.

Tell Heloise I felt as if I could kiss her bright eyes away, when I read her sweet little letter. She is really a smart little lady, and your sister deserves great praise for having taken such excellent advantages of her aptness -

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Jenkins and myself purpose visiting King’s Mountain on Saturday, in company with a gentleman of the town. I wish we could so manage it, as to carry Johnny for I know he would like to go. I will certainly carry him sometime, if not on Saturday. It is about eighteen miles from the town, and may be seen from our highest edifices. I am therefore eagerly the arrival of that day, for it is a pleasure I have long desired. I will attempt a description after I return. The people here do not regard it as of much consequence, although they have Pic-Nics there in summer. The remembrance of a brilliant revolutionary contest, which hangs around it, is sufficient to make it interesting to me.

How is the Philharmonic coming on? I hope promisingly. I shall ever recur to my connection with it, with feelings of the purest pleasure, for it was there, under the influence of inspired music, my love-plant shot forth its roots, entwined its tendrils around you, - and bloomed with sweetest fragrance. The heavenly melody filled my soul, purged my bosom of unholy thoughts and rendered it worthy to be the receptacle of your love.

Should I not cherish it, then, and feel great interest in its welfare? Yes; ever!

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Tell Sis Mary I will surprise her with a letter, when I get better settled. I am not half fixed yet. We contemplate making a change for the better. We have now twenty-four scholars boarding with us, of which number, sixteen are staying with me! The disproportion is too great; and as we hear of others who are coming, it is necessary for us to make other arrangements. We think of hiring a house which is large enough to accommodate about fifty, and et our present hosts to furnish it, and have our meals prepared. We will then be able to approximate to our original designs. I scarcely think we will be able to effect this within a month, for the Female College is not yet completed, and their school exercises are held in the lower part of the house, we intend engaging. - Our School House is not finished yet. Is not that provoking? - I received an invitation to attend the wedding of Miss Bauskett, of Columbia, the young lady I had so much fun with at the fair in Columbia, last December. The affair will take place on the 14th of the month. I wish her much happiness, of course; but I can’t go. I will feel too envious. I dislike to think of any one getting married before me.

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As I have a dozen French exercises to correct to night, I must bid you a sweet good night.

John is quite well, and sends his love to all.

Kiss all the children, and give “Johnson” and [illegible] a good hug, - one in each arm.

Give my love to all, and remember me always to your good mother.

Good night, - God bless you!

Your own Asbury.

P.S. Get that old song, “My Own One”, and sing often for me, as I would sing it. My dear Sister’s sweet voice floats through my mind as I mention it.


Coward, Asbury, 1835-1925, “Letter from Asbury Coward to his future wife Elise, February 6, 1855,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed June 21, 2024, https://citadeldigitalarchives.omeka.net/items/show/1573.