Two and a Half Daughters

"The Hand that Touched Prince Henry's"
Part of a letter from Mary Lawton ("Mrs. Walton") to Annie Fellows Johnston
January 3, 1910


The Beeches.
Jan 3rd, 1910

Dear "Cousin Annie"!---

How good of you to write me, when you are so busy and snowed under with your correspondence!

I was thinking of you, the other day, and wishing we might enjoy a good old time visit together.  One can't quite write the things one can say --- and it's bound to be one-sided.  There is so much I want to talk to you about, a thousand things to ask you about. Why is Penacres so far away from The Beeches?  I was so pleased with the pretty cards from you & Mamie expressing such sweet sentiment & showing such kind thought.  They brought the real Christmas spirit with them and gave me a delicious, warm, feeling in my heart.  We had delightful Christmas weather – cold and everything covered with snow.  Today is gloomy and the weather sulky.  Can't make up its mind which to do – grow warmer and rain or colder and snow, or perhaps try both, or just do neither.  But in spite of such surroundings, the little house wren that lives in a gourd on the front porch in a sheltered corner, warbles out joyously  his "Jubilee, Jubilee" and makes one feel glad to be alive. I have been extra busy this winter – never had such a shot out of  a gun feeling before.  – am fired off at 7 promptly every morning and don't hit the bulls-eye until bedtime. Someone asked me not long ago how many grown daughters I had.  – really at the moment they felt like a dozen, but I truthfully answered only two and a half.  But the half goes more than the other two.  I was not sure just how Catherine would take society, and have been more than pleased.  I am thankful, she finds more in life than beaux and balls --- they enjoy our little home "Thursdays” best of all.  & you know how simple and wholesome they are. Hattie Cochran spent last night with the girls, and they had four nice beaux to supper -- and a jolly time together after the boys left on the 9:30 car.  We miss the Cochrans very much in "Cranford."  You know they wouldn't sign the contract for their apartments until the landlord inserted a special clause permitting "Bob-Angel" & "Buzz" the cat to enjoy its comforts with them. Bob promptly lost himself, and the family were in a terrible state.  Amelia returning to Pewee, and the others searching in every direction they could think of - Bob finally turned up, none the worse except for mud and dirt.  The prodigal was carried in & laid tenderly on the clean white bed and petted –then bathed in the family tub, fed nice cream and petted some more.  Everything is normal and serene at present.

[ remainder of the letter is missing]

Note:  This letter was written about the time Annie Fellows Johnston was finishing "Mary Ware in Texas" at her home, Penacres, in Boerne, TX (near San Antonio).  Lloydsboro Valley was changing.  The girls were growing up, and Hattie Cochran, the real life Little Colonel, and her family had moved to Louisville.