July 16, 1859, Augusta, Georgia
My Dear Little Alice:

I have just written a letter to Beckie and it makes me think about you, so I will write and it won't matter if your letter is very much like Beckie's, will it? I told her first what a hot day this is down here in Georgia. How hot? The sun shines down on our broad dusty streets, the brick houses and pavements, the rusty trees, the umbrellas and parasols. How hot? The pavements and streets shine up on people in light clothes, sweating very much about the shoulders, under the umbrellas and parasols. How the brick houses shine in with a prefect blaze on all sides. There is no breeze, and the very weathercock looks like it were sun-struck and never would move anymore. I believe somebody else has noticed one in the same condition before me. Maybe it was Dickens -- Nellie knows. The street is never sprinkled on this day, and, like so many fat chickens we all seem to be saved through the week to be broiled on Sunday.

The negroes looking generally nice and clean -- the women with those turbanish bandages on their heads which are so peculiar and becoming to them -- congregate in the market houses and all shady places, and enjoy themselves very much, after their own fashion.

And I -- in the shop, with back doors and windows open for the fresh air -- which never comes in -- my floor sprinkled -- coat, vest and necktie hanging on chairs and door-knobs, shirt collar unbuttoned and very much turned down and suspenders slipped off my shoulders, enjoy myself, as much as I can, after my own fashion.

I must tell you, as I did Beckie, of two new and very pleasant acquaintances that I -- and all of us in the store have made -- little girls from the hotel over the store -- about as large as you was when I saw you last -- 3 years ago. They come into the store to see us everyday, and are very pretty and charming company, but finding that they were about to extend their visits to the shop, which would not do at all, you know I was obliged to invent a Bear and keep him in my little sleeping room (which is not in the shop). Not a bear of the rampant, child-drowning kind such as Elijah (or Elisha I never can tell which) called out of the wood, that frighten children into fits with jumping out from behind doors and skulking under counters, but a mild, benevolent animal with the wool very much grown over his eyes, that eats nothing but grass and melon rinds, and sleeps all the time unless someone wakes him up with making too much noise in the front store. For a day or two Mr. Osborne ignored the Bear, but, seeing that he was a gentle beast who never excited anything of a spasmodic nature, and withal was needed very much he now acknowledges him. So the sweet little girls come in to gladden our eyes often, while the silent influence of the Bear preserves our sanctuary.

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