These two letters were written by Fannie Moran after the death of her mother in October 1895.
The first letter is dated Nov 7 1895 and is to her brothers James H. Moran and Charles Harrell Moran. The letter has the usual sadness that a mourning letter would have but it also has interesting tidbits of information about the time period. For instance, the street lights in Dresden were lit after 6pm. She also references a marriage that may or may not have taken place between her cousin Sophia Irvine and Charles Ferguson. The marriage did indeed take place but it happened later in the month. In addition it's interesting that she notes the society marriage of the Duke of Marlborough and Consuelo Vanderbilt which had taken place the day before she wrote this letter. It also mentions a popular medicine of the day, Paine's Celery Compound.Dresden.
The second letter is written in December 1895 and is to Fannie's brother Harrell. It reminds of A Christmas Carol where she talks about how they had permission from Papa to come home for the holidays rather than stay at school. Harrell and Jim were attending the Webb School at that time. The rest of the letter she is telling Harrell where to shop to buy the prettiest and cheapest flowers. What to buy for their youngest sister Marion and how the train schedule had not changed that much. She also tells him he only had two misspelled words in his previous letter. You have to remember that Fannie was a schoolteacher. :)
Nov. 7 1895
My dear Brothers (Jim and Harrell)
My heart bleeds afresh as I write the above date. You know the sorrow it brings to me, and I know the sorrow you are going through. One month since she (Sophia Riley Gunn Moran their mother) died, and what a long, dreary month it has been! The past ten years with their days of happiness seem but half that time and it seems hard to realize that we have suffered all the agony of and lives' greatest sorrow, has been comprised into one short month. Truly time is not measured by days but by actions and events. From this I realize that constant action, work either physical or mental is our only report.
The worst hour of the day for me, the hour that seems longer than all the rest is the twilight hours when the days work is finished before the lamps are lighted, from 5 to 6 the hours that her soul passed eternity. How I wish I could say something to comfort you, but your sorrow is mine. Hand in hand we go through the valley of the shadow, and lover for her, for God and for each other is our only comfort, and it is a comfort to know that our lives have been so rich in love.
It was impressed on me in reading of the great Marlborough Vanderbilt marriage celebrated in all the pomp and magnificence that unbounded wealth could conceive of and yet the father and mother of the bride were further apart than if oceans separated them. Would you exchange even the memory of our once happy home with her?
I stayed longer in N.(Nashville) than I expected, but came home as soon as I could. I got the ?? for Papa (John Williamson Moran) so Brother may rest easy.
In return wont you promise to take broken doses of salts for your boils and get a bottle of Paines' Celery Compound and take regularly. If you haven't the money to buy it I will send it to you.
Twas reported that Soph (Sophia Irvine) and Charlie (Charles Ferguson) were to be married at Bump's (James A Irvine) last night, but hope tis not true as I haven't heard it verified this a.m. She made people believe she had broken off entirely with him after Brud's (Harrell Moran) talk with her but tell Jack (Forrest Dabney Irvine) I think he'll have to write her another letter.
Mr. Bondurant is worse. This is a dreary, rainy day and the carpenters cannot work. Bettie is up here sewing. Papa has not looked so well for the past few days.
With a heart full of love
Sister (Fannie Moran)
Tuesday (The envelope is dated December 17 1895)
Dear Brud (Harrell Moran)
We enjoyed your letter which came yesterday and I was so proud to know that you had been complemented by "Buck". All the ambition that I once had for myself is now centered on you and Jim and it does my heart good to know that you are getting along so nicely.
Jim's last letter was unusually good and yours was much better only two mis-spelled words both of which I think were due to carelessness instead of ignorance, couldent for couldn't and whare for where.
We hadn't written about your coming home because we didn't know that you were going to get to come but after many persuasions and promises exacted by Baby (Marion Moran) from Papa, he consented saying it would be his Xmas present to you and we are so glad. At the best it will be but a lonely Christmas for us without our dear one but more so with out your two. I have just finished a letter to Mr. Webb giving you permission to come. Papa asked me to write and also say he would send a check tomorrow. He went hunting this morning with Mr. ? Scott.
He said you never wrote him about Mrs. Black's bread bill, what the amount is up to date. Please find out. Knowing a little extra change is always convenient I enclose $1.00 bill for your street car fare, etc. while in N. You may go around to the market house and price the flowers. When I was there they were some cheaper than at the Florists but were faded and soiled. If they won't do, go to Joy's on Church St almost upper site the Vendome and to Currey's near the Nicholsons toward the depot. Buy wherever they are prettiest and cheapest which I think will be at Joy's. Carnations and hyacinths are the most seasonable flowers. Also ask about the weeping willow.
So that you may not get duplicates let me tell you that I am to give Ida some garter clasps and Marion paper dolls and a book. If you can find a tiny doll brush and comb for her get it. There has very little change been made in the R.R. schedule the 11:30 train leaving N. 1/2 hr later and getting here at 12.
With love to Jim and Jack
I am devotedly