The romance between Miss Mittie Bulloch and Mr. Theodore Roosevelt reignited in the winter of 1852 and into 1853, carried on through correspondence over the next eight months. The first letter however, was not from either Mittie or Thee, but Martha Bulloch. This letter presented a clear view of Martha’s ideas about love and marriage.
Roswell May 21st/ 1853
Your letter of 13th inst, I received yesterday, and reply by return of mail. Your visit to Roswell I recollect with much pleasure. During so short a visit, of course I had but little opportunity of becoming personally acquainted with you. But that little impressed me favourably. My son & daughter Mr. and Mrs. West [Hilborne and Susan] have also ever spoken of you in terms of unqualified respect and esteem. I have never interfered with the matrimonial designs of my children, and never will when the object chosen is a worthy one. The choice I leave entirely to themselves - Therefore, I refer the matter back to Mittie & yourself.
With Martha’s permission to wed, Thee responded directly to Mittie. At least one intervening letter passed between the two but was not retained in the collection.
New York May 31st 53
A week will have passed tomorrow since I last wrote or spoke to you; one third of the time to be passed by me in purgatory is concluded, and I am beginning to calculate how many hours will be required after leaving here to reach Roswell via Savannah, as Mr Bulloch [James Dunwoody] decidedly advises me to take that route.
Of course I have received no letter from you although this evening I try to persuade myself that you are composing one to me. Your mother’s reached me tonight, having been ten days on the road; fortunately its contents were already received from “sister” [Susan West or Mary West Roosevelt] through Lizzie [Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ellis Roosevelt] who returned from Philadelphia yesterday. Your mother seems determined not to help me any and, if you had not already consented, three weeks would not pass without seeing me in Roswell; as it is “my fortune is made,” and I suppose I must obey orders. Do thank your mother for her kind letter and tell Anna I do not intend to bring it South with me as even she could not improve it.
When you write (which I particularly request will be immediately) it might be as well to direct to the care of Roosevelt & Son, although it is merely rendered advisable by a change of clerks and consequently present confusion in our Post Office.
I paid Mrs Bulloch [Elizabeth “Lizzie“ Caskie Bulloch] quite a long visit last night and have seen your brother several times; of course you, as the cord of sympathy between us, are frequently spoken of. Mr Hutchison [Robert Hutchison] speaks in very high terms of you, likes you all the better for having so much spirit and ascribes numerous other pretty speeches, all of which I would keep to myself did I not think you would fully appreciate them, and that they would not change your feelings toward him. He has just presented a fine horse to Mrs Bulloch’s sister [Nannie Euphemia Caskie Harrison], which he has sent to the south, to which place she has returned. He is talking of going to Europe, but does not think he will get off. Mrs Bulloch has determined to accompany her husband on his next cruise, she seems much better and sends her best love. Mr Bulloch passed last saturday evening with me, or rather I suppose I ought to say with the family, but to own the truth I monopolized him as much as possible in myown quiet room. Mr Rockhill left me this morning, I went with him one night to the Hippodrome; of the six women who raced thru fell, their horses slipping on a wet part of the tan; one was carried out a good deal hurt, the others remounted and continued the race with but little spirit. The whole of the performances seemed to border on the cruel. Rockhill is an exceedingly clever person, a very good disposition and indeed has all that one could desire in a friend except - a red nose. This will seem to you I know an insurmountable objection and so I will drop him for the present, assuring you that; although not an intimate friend, I esteem him very highly.
Mrs Hull and sister are still with Mary [Roosevelt], apparently in about the same state as ever; one very strong, the other very weak and neither of them very attractive. Mary must be painfully sensible of the change from her previous guests; as I was, last sunday evening at tea. There was the welsh rabbit, there was everything just as it had been those Sundays before except - I scarce know how to describe the change. It was not formal, that was impossible but I found myself really conversing, and thinking what I ought to do for the sake of politeness, instead of doing, as in days gone by, just as I pleased.
Mother’s right hand is disabled by a slight attack of (apparently) rheumatism, we hope it will prove nothing, but she wanted me to inform you of it as it had prevented her from writing to you as she has so long desired to. I think I have told you already Mittie all that she would say, as it could be much more than an expression of her feelings of affection for you, but I know as soon as she is well enough she will write and then you can judge for yourself.
Remember your promise to tell me exactly all about your health and I will rely fully upon what you say and save myself. I assure you a great deal of uneasiness by being able to do so.
I have laid aside a new novel by the author of “the initials” to read loud in case we get time, it is named “Cyrilla;“ also the Putnam of this month for fear you may not get it, it contains an exceedingly good piece on New York society styled “Paul Potiphas’s Meditation,” I have already read it aloud once down stairs.
And now Mittie requesting you once more to write as often as you possibly can make up your mind to, I remain
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