Wednesday, July 05, 2006


7/5/06- THE FINAL LETTER


MY ORIGINAL PLANS FOR TODAY AFTER MY FOUR-DAY WEEKEND WAS TO GO BACK TO THE STORY OF CHESTER GILLETTE'S LAST DAYS, BUT THEN I REALIZED THAT TODAY'S DATE, JULY 5, MARKS THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NIGHT THAT GRACE BROWN WROTE HER IMMORTAL FINAL LETTER TO HIM BEFORE SHE WENT UP ON HER FATAL TRIP TO THE ADIRONDACKS. UPON REALIZING THIS, I REALIZED THAT TODAY, I WOULD RECOPY THE LETTER THAT HAD BEEN NAMED ONE OF THE GREATEST LOVE LETTERS OF THE 20TH CENTURY. SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADIEU, HERE IT IS, COMPLETE, UNCUT, AND UNEDITED.

"MY DEAR CHESTER:

I AM CURLED UP BY THE KITCHEN FIRE AND YOU WOULD SHOUT IF YOU COULD SEE ME. EVERYONE ELSE IS IN BED. THE GIRLS CAME UP AND WE HAVE SHOT THE LAST FIRECRACKERS AND OUR LAWN LOOKS ABOUT AS GREEN AS THE CORTLAND HOUSE CORNER. I WILL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT MY FOURTH WHEN I SEE YOU. I HOPE YOU HAD A NICE TIME.

THIS IS THE LAST LETTER I CAN WRITE DEAR. I FEEL AS THOUGH YOU WERE NOT COMING DEAR. PERHAPS THAT IS NOT RIGHT, BUT I CAN'T HELP FEELING THAT I AM NEVER GOING TO SEE YOU AGAIN. HOW I WISH THIS WAS MON.

I AM GOING DOWN AND STAY WITH MAUDE NEXT SUN. NIGHT, DEAR AND THEN GO TO DE RUYTER THE NEXT MORNING AND WILL GET THERE ABOUT TEN O'CLOCK. IF YOU TAKE THE 9:45 TRAIN FROM THE LEHIGH THERE, YOU WILL GET THERE AT ABOUT ELEVEN. I AM SORRY I COULD NOT GO TO HAMILTON, DEAR, BUT PAPA AND MAMA DID NOT WANT ME TO AND THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS I HAVE HAD TO WORK HARD FOR IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS. THEY THINK THAT I AM JUST GOING DOWN TO DE RUYTER FOR A VISIT.

NOW, DEAR, WHEN I GET THERE, I WILL GO AT ONCE TO THE HOTEL AND I DON'T THINK THAT I WILL SEE ANY OF THE PEOPLE. IF I DO, AND THEY ASK ME TO COME TO THE HOUSE, I WILL SAY SOMETHING SO THAT THEY WILL NOT MISTRUST ANYTHING. TELL THEM THAT I HAVE A FRIEND COMING FROM CORTLAND AND THAT WE WERE TO MEET THERE TO GO TO A FUNERAL OR WEDDING IN SOME TOWN FARTHER ALONG. AWFULLY STUPID, BUT WE WERE INVITED TO COME AND AS I HAD TO CUT MY VACATION A LITTLE SHORT AND GO. WILL THAT BE ALL O.K., DEAR? MAYBE THAT WOULD BE JUST WHAT I WILL SAY BUT DON'T WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING FOR I WILL MANAGE SOMEHOW.

ONLY I WANT YOU TO COME IN THE MORNING FOR I DON'T WANT TO WAIT THERE IN THE HOTEL ALL DAY FOR IF THEY SHOULD SEE ME THERE AND ALL DAY THEY WOULD THINK FUNNY I DID NOT GO TO THE HOUSE. YOU MUST COME IN THE MORNING FOR I HAVE HAD TO MAKE- YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MANY NEW PLANS SINCE YOUR LAST LETTER- IN ORDER TO MEET YOU MON. I DISLIKE WAITING UNTIL MON., BUT NOW THAT I HAVE, I DON'T THINK IF ANYTHING ONLY FAIR THAT YOU SHOULD COME UP MON. MORNING.

BUT DEAR, YOU MUST SEE THE NECESSITY YOURSELF OF GETTING THERE AND NOT MAKING ME WAIT. IF YOU DISLIKE THE IDEA OF COMING MON. MORNING AND CAN GET A TRAIN UP THERE SUN. NIGHT, YOU COULD COME UP SUN. NIGHT AND BE THERE TO MEET ME. PERHAPS THAT WOULD BE THE BEST WAY. ALL I CARE IS I DON'T WANT TO WAIT THERE ALL DAY OR A HALF DAY. I THINK THERE IS A TRAIN THAT LEAVES THE LEHIGH AT SIX-SOMETHING SUN. NIGHT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT WOULD DO IF YOU WERE NOT THERE OR DID NOT COME. I AM ABOUT CRAZY NOW.

I HAVE BEEN BIDDING GOODBYE TO SOME PLACES TODAY. THERE ARE SO MANY NOOKS, DEAR, AND ALL OF THEM SO DEAR TO ME. I HAVE LIVED HERE NEARLY ALL MY LIFE. FIRST, I SAID GOODBYE TO THE SPRING HOUSE WITH ITS GREAT MASSES OF GREEN MOSS, THEN THE APPLE TREE WHERE WE HAD OUR PLAYHOUSE, THEN THE "BEEHIVE," A CUTE LITTLE HOUSE IN THE ORCHARD, AND OF COURSE, ALL THE NEIGHBORS WHO HAVE MENDED MY DRESSES FROM A LITTLE TOT UP TO SAVE ME A THRASHING I REALLY DESERVED.

OH! DEAR, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT ALL OF THIS IS TO ME. I KNOW I SHALL NEVER SEE ANY OF THEM AGAIN. AND MAMA- GREAT HEAVENS- HOW I DO LOVE MAMA. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WILL DO WITHOUT HER. SHE IS NEVER CROSS AND SHE ALWAYS HELPS ME SO MUCH. SOMETIMES I THINK IF I COULD TELL MAMA, BUT I CAN'T. SHE HAS TROUBLE ENOUGH AS IT IS AND I COULDN'T BREAK HER HEART LIKE THAT. IF I COME BACK DEAD PERHAPS, IF SHE DOES KNOW, SHE WON'T BE ANGRY WITH ME. I WILL NEVER BE HAPPY AGAIN, DEAR. I WISH I COULD DIE. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE MADE ME SUFFER, DEAR. I MISS YOU AND WANT TO SEE YOU, BUT I WISH I COULD DIE.

I AM GOING TO BED NOW, DEAR. PLEASE COME AND DON'T LET ME WAIT THERE. IT IS FOR BOTH OF US TO BE THERE. IF YOU HAVE MADE PLANS FOR SOMETHING SUN. NIGHT, YOU MUST COME MON. MORNING. PLEASE THINK, DEAR, THAT I I HAD TO GIVE UP A WHOLE SUMMER'S PLEASURE IF YOU WOULD SURELY BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO GIVE UP ONE EVENING FOR ME. I SHALL EXPECT AND LOOK FOR YOU MON. FORENOON.

HEAVEN BLESS YOU UNTIL THEN.

LOVINGLY AND WITH KISSES,

THE KID

I WILL GO RIGHT TO THE TABOR HOUSE AND YOU COME FOR ME THERE. I WISH YOU COULD COME UP SUN. NIGHT SO AS TO BE THERE AND SWEETHEART, I THINK IT WOULD BE EASIER FOR YOU. PLEASE COME UP SUN. NIGHT, DEAR."

AS YOU CAN SEE, THIS LETTER IS CLEARLY ONE OF THE GREATEST MASTERPIECES EVER PUT ON PAPER AND WHEN THIS LETTER WAS READ AT THE TRIAL, IT WAS COMPARED TO WORKS BY THE MOST POPULAR AUTHORS OF THAT ERA. I AM VERY FORTUNATE TO BE ONE OF THE FEW WHO ACTUALLY HAS A COPY OF THIS HISTORICAL DOCUMENT. THE ORIGINAL IS KEPT IN THE RARE BOOKS COLLECTION AT HAMILTON COLLEGE BUT THERE HAVE BEEN PLANS FOR THE LETTERS TO BECOME AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET FOR FUTURE RESEARCHERS.

AND SO, TOMORROW, I HOPE TO GET BACK TO THE STORY ABOUT CHESTER'S LAST DAYS BECAUSE I HAVE PLANS TO REPORT ON THE MEMORIAL FOR GRACE NEXT WEEK AND I HAVE TO GET CAUGHT UP HERE.

1 comment:

evangelia amirhom said...

Great blog.thank you so much for sharing your work.
I'm interested in the Chester Gillette/grace brown case .
I'm not able to understand why Chester Gillette killed this innocent girl who thought the world of him.