[From the personal correspondence of Lena Gruber. May 17, 1890]

[auto translate implemented: Austrian German to English]

[Letter Addressed to:

Frau Hannah Gruber / #13 Alt-Urfahr Strasse / Linz, Austria]

Dear Mother,

Every day it gets a little easier. I cry a bit less each night, and you’ll be proud to know my employers have never seen me shed a tear. They are good people, and treat me well. It would pain me to repay their generosity with sadness.

Still, I miss home terribly. I miss you and little Jonas. The family’s youngest boy reminds me so much of him. He truly is one of the sweetest babies that ever lived. This morning I took the children to paddle in the river and the moment his feet touched the water he let out the most wonderful squeal! It caused the ducks to take flight, it was so loud.

Mein Herr’s home is lovely, if not a touch cramped, what with six people under its roof. I do my best to attend to the children and the housekeeping, but I confess it’s all rather overwhelming at times. You made it look so easy I thought it must be so.

Provincial is a word I finally understand. It’s nothing like Linz. Things move more slowly here, yet there never seem to be enough hours. Nights are quiet and loud at the same time. I miss the hum of the city, but the air is alive with owls and dogs and insects. Sometimes, if I can’t sleep, I’ll check on the baby. He likes to listen to the night, too. More than once we’ve sat together until dawn, breathing in the smell of lilac. Meine Dame plucks fresh sprigs every morning to put around the house. It fills every room with its strong odor, the way Father Johannes used to burn sage. I think it’s how she prays.

Please write when you have the chance. I ache for news from home. How many kittens did Liebchen bear? Are you in good health? Have Jonas’ front teeth grown in yet?

I count the days to Christmastime. Your loving daughter,


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