Letter from Asbury Coward to his future wife Elise, May 25, 1855


Letter from Asbury Coward to his future wife Elise, May 25, 1855


Letter from Asbury to his future wife Elise while he is at King's Mountain. He is relieved to hear of her better health and is looking forward to the end of the school session. One of his pupils is still ill so he may be delayed in coming down to Charleston. He also wishes that she could be present for the examination.


A2009.6, Box 2 Folder 1


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York (S. C.)


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Yorkville May 25th 1855

My Dearest Elise

I received your letter dated 22nd, and I assure you it relieved my bosom of a great load of anxiety. I knew by your last letter, which, I received last Saturday, that you had not entirely recovered, and ever fearful, not receiving your last letter, I wound myself up to a pitch, which you may better imagine, than I can describe. Suffice it to say that if I had not been too late for the cars, you would have received a telegraphic dispatch inquiring if you were sick. I had begun to picture all sorts of horrors. Don’t laugh; for I am really serious. One or two weeks will find me by your side, your appearance assuring me that my fears were groundless; and your love-speaking eyes recompensing me for the pain they gave me.

I can scarcely beleive [sic] that this is really our last school day for the session! I suppose every one is happy because it is so. The boys are, we are, and I know you and Miss J - ought to be. But oh misery! One of my boys, the only one who has not had the measles, and who has hitherto escaped though sleeping in the same room with those who had them, is just gone to bed, quite sick. I feel quite confident that he has taken them, and I am certain of being detained at least until he becomes convalescent. See my philosophy now. Had I allowed myself to become completely influenced by my rapturous joy at the prospect

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of soon embracing you, and had appointed a day for leaving Yorkville, that I do not know but that I would be tempted into an unpardonable desertion of my duty. I feel too strongly; my will, in spite of all my exertion, has not yet acquired the desired dominion. Though I can command myself in some things, there are others against which I cannot contend. I may become a Stoic in appearance but the pent up fires within, only burn the more, because I do not give them vent. I am far from being a man, yet. I cannot now say anything more definite than this, - you will probably see the last of next week, or the first of the succeeding one. I feel certain that this will be annoying to you, for I know what feelings fill your heart. - I confidently beleive [sic] you wholly mine. If I can find a good opportunity of sending John down, I will, of course, not detain him on my account, for I do not wish to disappoint your parents because we are disappointed, if it can possibly be avoided. I will not send him, however, unless I am perfectly satisfied that I entrust him to sure hands. Poor little fellow, I know how his heart is fluttering as the time draws near to see you all again. He has worked manfully, and you may all feel proud of him. He has not yet conquered, or rather corrected those trivial faults of which you seem so much concerned, and I hope you will understand my reasons, as I will explain to you when we meet.

On Monday our examination takes place; on Tuesday, we will probably parade in the morning and have our exhibition in the evening. I wish you could attend; for being self-taught upon the subject of elocution

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I somewhat pride myself upon the success I have had in teaching it. We had elocutionary exercises at the Citadel, it is true, but I have never had a teacher who could enlighten me. (I say this not through conceit, beleive [sic] me.) I always spoke as nature prompted, and my professor, too tacitly acknowledged that he had nothing to teach me, and I was therefore thrown upon my own resources for self improvement. I have succeeding in bringing out some of my boys, in a manner quite satisfactory to me.

I will write soon, in the meanwhile keep your spirits up. Give my love to all. Your devoted


P.S. I truly hope Josephine may not become as ill as you fear. Tell Sis Mary I console with her in the loss of her pet; and also say that I am a candidate for all the love she ever bestowed upon it. Oh! how I wish every body would love me! A. C -


Coward, Asbury, 1835-1925, “Letter from Asbury Coward to his future wife Elise, May 25, 1855,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed July 13, 2024, https://citadeldigitalarchives.omeka.net/items/show/1575.