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|Small pocket diary carried by Laurits Peter Nielsen when he immigrated to America from Denmark in 1879. The book is embossed "Poesie" on the cover, which is Danish for "Poetry". He Americanized his name to Louis Nelsen by the time he came to Oshkosh in 1888.
Diary of Laurits Nielsen
[Translated by Arlow W. Andersen, Neenah, Wisconsin, 1985.]
This diary belongs to Louis Peter (Laurits Nielsen), born June 15, 1858, in Copenhagen, Denmark. But he is residing for the time being in the town of Racine in Wisconsin, North America. There he lived from May 12, 1879 to May 1, 1888. Then he began to live in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he is still.
(Signed) Louis Nelsen
162 14th Street
Travel memories from Copenhagen to America
Monday the 21st of April 1879, one o'clock in the afternoon, I departed by the steamer Aurora from Copenhagen in company with eight travel companions. Their names were Hellesen with his wife, and daughter. Chr. Hansen, H. C. Rasmussen and his fiancée, H. P. Christensen, Jens P. Hansen, and R. Rasmussen. The weather was very pleasant.
At the customs station the undersigned bade me farewell and wished me good luck in the new world of America: my brother Carl, my cousins Marbenand Christian, my friend Jens Nielsen and his fiancée, Alma Jensen and her friend Hulda Nielsen. After having talked a bit with them I had to board the aforementioned steamship Aurora, Captain Baltzersen. Soon thereafter we lifted and anchor. The voyage began/at 5:30 Monday afternoon we passed the Malm8 lighthouse, which has a wonderful location. The high banks reach out into the Sound. At about eight o'clock in the evening I went down to my cabin and lay down to rest. I woke up in the morning at about five o'clock. When I came up on deck we were sailing in the Kiel fjord, and after half an hour we arrived at Kiel. There I debarked and went down to a railroad park and drank a little cup of coffee, for which I paid in Danish money about twenty öre. There my baggage was weighed. I paid forty Kroner in overweight.
When it was 7:15 I traveled by train to Altona. When I left Kiel the sky was overcast with rain clouds. On the way to Altona we had delightful rain. The first station we came to was Neuminster where we stopped for about twenty minutes. It was eight o'clock when we arrived at the above-mentioned station. There I ate a couple of sandwiches, which I had in my bag. Next we reached Vriedst and stayed there two or three minutes. Here I saw the German artillery exercising in a very big field. It was many times bigger than our Nörrefaellet. Then we rode again and came to Horst station. I have nothing to report from there, other than that it began to rain again. It continued the entire day.
Then we rode farther and arrived at Elmshorn, which lies unbelievably beautiful, with a delightful view from the town. Then the train started again. Between this station and the next one, called Pornisch, I saw a very large red-chalk mine. When it was 7:45 a.m. we came to the station referred to, namely Pornisch. Nothing to report about it. Then we rode again and came to Pinneborg. By this station lies a very large and beautiful forest. After eight minutes we departed and came to Altona at ten o'clock Tuesday morning, April 22, 1879.
At the Altona railroad yard there was a Habelvaert Petersen, who received us there and followed us all to his hotel and showed us our places. I came up to a room where we were to be, six men, with two men for each bed. So we had to pay one krone. From the hotel attendant I bought what was necessary to take on board the steamship to America.
The next morning, April 23, I left Altona for Hamburg and boarded the ship that would take us to the second vessel, which lay about three or four miles from Hamburg in the river Elbe. It was about ten o'clock when I departed from Hamburg in the smaller ship. At 12 noon we reached the vicinity of the steamer Lessing, Captain Woss. I came aboard and was escorted to the bunk in which I was to rest. There was of course uncomfortable living space in the steerage. We were over 500 passengers, both Danish and German. The crew were all Germans but decent people. A couple of them spoke Danish. I held myself close to them the first day, until I established an acquaintance with a family from Schleswig, from a town named Pönder. With these people I felt at ease. I ate with them and drank coffee and tea with them several times. As they themselves noticed, I became acquainted with one of the daughters, a girl of about 20 years of age. We became engaged and have written letters regularly to each other.
I will now record how we got provisions on board ship and what they consisted of. At 6 in the morning we received our tea and a loaf of bread, distributed every day to each man. At 8 we could fetch fresh water to drink, but we got no more than one-fourth of a pot. With that we should get along until 4. At 12 noon we received food for dinner. It consisted exclusively on the entire voyage of yellow peas. However, on Sundays there was a little variation. Then we got pudding. Meat or fat every Sunday. Sunday dinner we had meat. Two or three times during the voyage over the Atlantic Ocean it happened that the food was unpalatable. It was so rancid and smelly that it was a shame to bite into it. I ate my own butter, which I had brought from home from my dear parents. I bought bread in Hamburg while I was there. At 4 p.m. we again had water but not more than a fourth of a pot, to lest to the next morning. But naturally it could not last, and so I was obliged to buy a couple of bottles of beer every day. They were expensive, all right. They cost 45 öre a piece, but that didn't matter because I didn't wish to become intoxicated.
At 6 o'clock we again got tea, but hardly anyone drank either coffee or tea, since there was no milk in it and it tasted like water with syrup instead of sugar. Butter was distributed only twice in twelve days. We received such a small amount that it was consumed quickly. After having boarded the steamship Lessing and having started to sail, we arrived at Le Havre in France at Friday noon, April 25th. There we lay in the harbor, but all passengers were permitted to go ashore. Herewith I will write a little bit about the city and its unusual features.
The city of Le Havre lies amidst rare beauty and is sheltered by bulwarks from the sea. Canals also serve to control the water in flood and ebb tides. The city itself is beautiful but I saw much poverty. At the markets at four or five o'clock I can well report that I saw men standing and eating a slice of bread 1/2 inches thick with a piece of meat or fish. When they had finished eating, some of them went and drank a glass of wine, which is very inexpensive there, not more expensive, however, than at home in our motherland. At a very large market they had set up butcher shops like those in Copenhagen, by the Nicolaihaaren. Women sat and sold fruit and fish. Butchers had their shops full of meat, and in the nicest order. Sand was scattered in each shop.
I came to a street in which there was a corpse ready to be buried. It lay in an entryway with the cover removed. This was done in order that anyone who passed by on the street, and was of the same faith as the deceased, should take off his hat when he passed by the body. The Catholics are accustomed to it. While I stood there and looked, there came a priest together with twelve girls and men clothed in white and having white caps. After the priest had made some signs over the deceased, the corpse was loaded on to a hearse-wagon and driven to the graveyard.
When I had seen this I proceeded to a wine merchant and bought two bottles of red wine, which I took with me on board. When I arrived at the ship, darkness had already set in. Then one of the passengers took his harmonica up on the deck. We danced there until ten o'clock, both young and old. This we did every afternoon while sailing over the Atlantic Ocean, since we had such beautiful weather during the whole trip. One must wonder how the foaming and restless sea can be so quiet. Only one day did we have a very strong sea. Then the water rose up and raced from one side to the other (over the deck). That day many became very seasick. Of course, I was very much in the middle of it. It was on a Sunday, the first Sunday I was on board the Lessing.
I forgot to relate that we departed from Le Havre on Saturday noon, April 26. Now that we had come a good distance from Le Havre, out in the channel between England and France, we missed three men who had gone ashore at Le Haw-re but had, it seems, not been able to find their way back to the ship. Anyhow, we sailed uninterruptedly, without taking any further consideration for those left behind. They could not take off on another ship until Saturday, eight days after we sailed away from there. By that time we would be a long ways on the ocean.
We have now arrived in New York harbor Tuesday afternoon, May 6. In other words, a twelve days trip from Hamburg, not counting a day's stopover in Le Havre. We were not allowed to go ashore here in New York. The steamer weighed anchor and had to lie a little distance from the land. But some women came to us from the shore. On deck they sold bread and fruit and other delicatessen goods that we had not received since we were in Le Havre. These women were soon sold out and returned with goods the next day.
Now there was tremendous Joy and gladness over seeing land again. The happiness was so great among all that I can hardly describe it. Music was being played all the time on deck. Dancing was good to hear and see. Many promenaded as couples up and down the deck and talked about the dear old land of their birth and of the hard times there. Others talked about the new country, which we now had reached. Hardly anyone wanted to go to their bunks. It was nearly two o'clock before we all got to bed, and we all awoke early the next morning. Then we began to pack our baggage and when it was 11 o'clock in the morning we were allowed to go ashore. That is to say, not farther than to the customs office, where we had to stop and open our travel trunks and let the customs officers examine them. By that time it was 1 o'clock. Then our belongings were taken to a smaller steamer that lay in the harbor in order to take care of passengers and baggage over to the other side. There we came to a place called Castle Garden. It resembled a circus. There our names were recorded and where we came from. This procedure lasted an hour and a half. In Castle Garden we bought some bread, butter, cheese, and sausage to eat on the railroad Journey.
From Castle Garden we were again led over to another side by a little steamer so that we could board our train to our destination. On Wednesday, May 7, at 7 o'clock we were ready to leave by train, and in the evening we were shown our coaches. I for my part came into a second-class car, which was quite satisfactory. These cars are constructed so that one can climb on at either end. An aisle going lengthwise divides the benches, providing room for two persons in each bench. A heating stove and toilet are found in each car.
From New York to Buffalo one doesn't see anything but woods and lofty hills. Here and there one sees a house. Without exception they are built of wood. No house along the route is built of stone. One can see all the way that they burned the trees. In other words, wood lies in piles. They ignite the wood.
From Buffalo to Chicago the soil is much richer. There is much farmland there, but still wooden houses. Between Buffalo and Chicago lies a large body of water. It is 200 feet deep. A bridge 800 feet long spans the river created by the lake. There is nothing pleasant about this long train ride, but one good thing is that the train stops three times every day for twenty minutes. In that time one can go into a place for refreshments.
The train arrived in Chicago on Friday evening, May 9, and there was a wagon from Hotel Denmark. I registered there. My baggage came at the same time. When I came to the hotel it was very plain. The room I was shown had two beds. Four men were supposed to sleep there. It was pitch dark there during the day. There was no window. No washstand or anything like it, such as in Copenhagen. I went down into the dining room and ate supper, and then I went up to lie down and rest. I stayed here until Monday noon, then traveled sixty English miles farther up (north), for there was absolutely no employment there (in Chicago).
I shall now carefully review how many miles I have traveled since I left Copenhagen and came to Chicago.
Copenhagen to Kiel 144 English Miles
Kiel to Altona 56
Hamburg to Le Havre 456
Saturday, April 26 to Sunday, April 27 304
Sunday, 4/27 to Monday 4/28 320
Monday, 4/28 to Tuesday, 4/29 317
Tuesday, 4/29 to Wednesday, 4/30 310
Wednesday, 4/30 to Thursday, 5/1 314
Thursday, 5/1 to Friday, 5/2 315
Friday, 5/2 to Saturday, 5/3 305
Saturday,5/3 to Sunday, 5/4 312
Sunday, 5/4 to Monday, 5/5 306
Monday, 5/5 to Tuesday, 5/6 290
New York to Chicago 5/9 900
Racine, Wisconsin, May 19, 1879
The Journey in America
From Chicago, at 9 in the morning on Monday, May 14, I traveled to Racine. I arrived in Racine at 2 in the afternoon on a small steamer that runs from Chicago to Racine. That trip is 60 English miles and costs $1.50. In Chicago I became acquainted with P. P. Deramm from Copenhagen. We kept company to Racine, where we took into a hotel called Lake House. Here we stayed until we got Jobs. I was lucky enough to find work on the day of Pentecost. On Friday of the first week I had earned 2~ dollars, in two days. But since then I have had no work until on May 27 I found a Job as kitchen boy and cook's helper in a saloon with a monthly salary of $6.00 and meals and lodging. Here I had things very good. I was expected to wait on the ladies, chop firewood, carry water, and order everything needed. I moved about as my own man. Nobody said anything to me, unless it was encouraging. At 7 in the evening I was free for the day. Then I could go out or go to bed, whichever I wished.
I usually attended the Danish Lutheran Church on Sundays, mornings or evenings, where an unusually good and competent pastor preached. His name is Dahn. The city of Racine is very beautiful. There are 34 churches of different denominations in this little city, and many factories of all possible sorts. Here is the largest factory for steam-driven machinery of every kind. Here also is a Danish society called Dania, which serves its members well. It supports them in sickness. Likewise, theater performances are given here, as well as balls in Dania Hall to which anyone can come by paying a half-dollar. On May 30 there were both theater and ball. I too attended together with one of the girls that I work with at Lake House. We enjoyed ourselves a lot and didn't go home until the ball ended at three in the morning. This entertainment cost me about one dollar.
The afternoon of the same day all of the girls and I, with one other waiter, and the boy friend of one of the girls, were out to the cemetery. This day is one of great celebration because it is a memorial anniversary for the fallen soldiers in the war for the United States (the Civil War). There was a crowd of people at the cemetery, and speeches were delivered. But Pentecost Day is observed here like an ordinary Sunday, and the second day of Pentecost is not recognized over here in America. That day is just a working day. Everyone works.
On Sunday, June 8, we had visitors. Eight persons came in the evening from Chicago. We arranged a ball, and I participated with the girls. Everyone was happy. We enjoyed ourselves immensely. The time passed in drinking and dancing. The dance ended at eleven. After that we went to bed. My birthday followed, on Sunday, June 15. I gathered together six friends that I have become acquainted with here. I gave them wine and a little beer to celebrate with. It cost me one dollar. We passed the time drinking and singing Danish songs until twelve o'clock, then went to bed.
On Saturday, June 28, I received a greeting, the first one, from my dear parents and brothers and sisters since I left Denmark. This greeting was brought by a man who had called upon them at home the day that he departed from Copenhagen, May 16, 1879. On June 24 a man by the name of Chr. Olsen left Racine for Copenhagen to meet his brother. With him I sent a friendly greeting to my parents and family. Also two letters, one to my parents and one to my friend Jens Nielsen.
On July 3 two theater productions were presented at Dania Hall. They were "The Third" and "The Intriguers." My boss gave me a complimentary ticket. I enjoyed myself greatly. The next day, the Fourth of July, was America's Independence Day. Here in Racine people paraded through the streets all day with music and flags. Every vehicle was decorated with flags and the horses too with flags by their ears. Everything looked gay.
On Monday, July 7, an equestrian troupe came to Racine. They performed in the evening. I was again given a free ticket. It was remarkable to see the performance. The show began at
8 o'clock and continued to 11:30. The next day the company left town, since they can stay in a town only one or two days. Then they travel to the next market town (municipality), where they again perform one evening. And so they move on, continually.
On Monday, July 14, 1879, I received two letters from the old country. One was from my dear friend Jense Nielsen and the other from my dear Uncle C. Nielsen of Vestervold, Copenhagen. I was pleased to get them and to hear how things are in the old country. I responded to the two letters on Wednesday, July 16, and asked them to send me their photographs. On July 1 I received the first letter from dear Denmark. It was from my dear parents and brothers and sisters. I saved these two letters because there was one from my brother Albert, who works in Kjöge. I sent a letter to my parents on July 5 and to my brother Albert on July 8.
As mentioned previously in this diary, I arrived on May 14 in company with a Danish man, Deramm by name. Here we formed an acquaintance with a barber from Copenhagen, of Provision (?) from the old country. His name was Emil Henrik Wurz, but he preferred to be called Henrik Jensen. Why he adopted a false name I do not know. We met often with this Wurz and had fun, but finally he carried it too far. He began to make fun of everybody, so to speak, and therefore I withdrew from his company. Now I will write a strange story about him. On July 3 he went up to the room where I stay while I was at a ball at Dania Hall. He borrowed, or more rightly said, took my coat. After I requested him several times to return my coat he responded that if I wanted it I could get it myself from him. But I didn't think I would like to do that, since he came to me several times a day where I worked.
Now a very peculiar thing happened. On Monday, July 21, he left his barbershop with my coat without anyone knowing where he was going. From a Danish watchmaker here in Racine he had purchased a watch and chain valued at $5.00. These he also took with him without letting anyone know that he was leaving. Of course, he had not paid for them.
On Thursday, when the Danish newspaper here in Racine came out, this barber was written up as follows. About two months ago there arrived in Racine a young person, Henrik Jensen, from Manistee, Michigan. With the help of fellow Danes and others he was luckily able to set up a barber shop on State Street in Racine. For a time everything went well for him, and the man was quite well liked. But then he became acquainted with an old and weak lady, Grine Marie by name. And so Mr. Jensen's business declined in so far as his relationship to the said woman left him unashamed. Instead, he behaved himself so disgustingly would shy away from him when they saw him. Earlier he possessed very little, and then he began to borrow. At Mr. E. Lange's store he bought a watch, which he planned to pay for later, and that may be true. At any rate, his word was not good. Later, on Sunday evening, July 20, 1879, he disappeared without a trace. Certain articles of clothing, including an overcoat, which he owned but did not use, are missing with him. So the general opinion is that he has fled.
On Sunday, August 3, there was here in Racine a bog picnic, which in Danish is called a tour in the woods. But it is a bit different, as you will see. At Mr. Rasmussen's, where I stayed, a gate of honor was set up, decorated with the Danish and American flags. In the middle of this entrance was a portrait of the brave Danish soldier of the war of 1848-50. The Danish Society had also raised a gate at Dania Hall, and one out in the woods, both of them decorated with Danish and American flags. The place where this picnic was to be held was located about six English miles from Racine. Here several tents were erected. There was a dining tent with two tables prepared to serve 72 persons. My employer stood at the entrance. We were six waiters and six to work in the kitchen. Each had his own "business" or work. The tables were beautifully decorated, trimmed with ever-greens. About 400 persons ate there. So we were kept busy, and it lasted from 2 to 7. They had also provided a dance floor, a shooting gallery, a bar, and several other such entertainments.
A number of Danes from Chicago, Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Manistee were invited. At 10 o'clock on Sunday morning the visitors arrived by train, and the Danish Society welcomed them at the station with a band of 15 musicians. Members of the society all wore red and white scarves and carried plenty of Danish flags. The visitors alighted from the railroad cars, and they themselves had a band with them. They shouted hurrah, and from there they were escorted to Dania Hall, where they were served some refreshments. Then they drew out to the woods, where they arrived about 1 o'clock. By 2 o'clock the festival dinner began. The picnic lasted until 7, and at 8:30 the visitors boarded the train to return to their homes. It was a very pleasant day, not too warm and not too cold. All of us were tired when it was over in the evening, but I was feeling fine the next day.
On August 4 I received a letter from my friend Jens Nielsen with the photograph of his fiancée enclosed. I was happy to get it. On Friday, August 5, I met one of the acquaintances of Jens Nielsen, the brother of the one whom we called Peter Kastrup when I was in Copenhagen. His brother's name is Claus Kostrup. He works for a farmer about four miles from Racine. Just lately he was in Racine for a couple of days and boarded with us during that time. I would like just to repeat a few words that he spoke to me. It was that my friend Jens Nielsen wants his sister to emigrate to America, but this I will write to my friend, her brother, that he should advise her against it. I will not encourage any person to leave his or her land of birth. One can fare Just as well at home in dear old Denmark as over here, as long as one cannot speak the language and is married and has some-one to help oneself. When one is single, one does not live well, since one can hardly do more than go to the saloons and spend all one's money to enjoy oneself. That is all the recreation that one has here in Racine.
On Friday, August 15, there was a picnic again. There we had, as before, refreshments, but they weren't as good as the first. The society that sponsored the picnic told my boss that 1,000 members would be coming from other societies in Chicago and Milwaukee, but no one came from the two cities mentioned. My boss counted between 100 and 150 that day. So in the evening we had to take all the food up to Dania Hall, where a ball was being held. Here we set up a table, and everything ran quite well as far as eating was concerned. Seven of us were assigned as waiters. In order to remember them for the future I will name them: Skyld Petersen, Mr. Anton Hansted, Miss Mary Hvid, Mr. Skarup, Mr. Hansen, Mr. Lars Andersen, Miss Lisbeth Bücke. In addition, there were in the kitchen Miss A. Ramussen, Miss Olsen, Miss Hvid, Miss Möllerr, Miss Robertsen, and to sell tickets for the dinner, Mr. Slagtermester Hvid.
On August 18 I again received a letter from my former stepmother in Denmark. This letter I answered on August 20 and also enclosed a letter to my onetime lover Christine Andersen. On Friday, August 22, I again received a letter from my dear parents, together with family photographs. I replied to this letter on August 25.
Wednesday, August 27, was a typical Tycho Brahe Day (famous Danish astronomer), for on this day I got for the first time a scolding from Mrs. Rasmussen. It happened that one of the children had spilt berry Juice. On August 29 another letter came from Copenhagen, this time from my former friend Jacobsen. I wrote him in return on September 2. On August 30 the Danish society sponsored a concert and dance. I took part in both of them and enjoyed myself very much. On September 2 I got a letter from Uncle Chr. Mielsen of Copenhagen and replied on September 4.
We have had, so to speak, hardly any rain here all summer. That is why we have a serious water shortage overall in North America. Only a little rain this fall. Again I received a letter on September 5, from my good friend Jens Nielsen in Copenhagen. I responded on September 8. Saturday, September 6, there was a railroad excursion to Chicago. I went with one of my friends who had traveled with me over the Atlantic Ocean. We departed by train at 8 o'clock in the morning and arrived in Chicago at 10:30. Then we turned toward the downtown section, to Hotel Denmark, where we had dinner. From there we proceeded on a tour of the town and came to the exposition building. I paid 25¢ to enter but it was worth it. The exhibits resembled those in the Copenhagen exposition. We came at 2 o'clock and we spent three or four hours there. Then we returned to Hotel Denmark for supper. When we finished eating, we left for the railroad station and boarded the train at 8 o'clock. We arrived in Racine at 10.
On Monday, September 8, I received a letter from my brother Albert in Copenhagen and replied on the 10th. On September 11 I mailed a letter to a travelling companion from Hamburg to Chicago. His name and address: Peter Olsen Newhört, Columbus, Nebraska. On Monday, September 15, Chr. Olsen came back from old Denmark and brought to me greetings from my aging parents and my brothers and sisters. He invited me to his home some Sunday afternoon so that we could talk more about Old Denmark and other matters. But he had forgotten to bring my dictionary [probably Danish-English], which I had requested in one of my letters.
October 10 I received two letters from my former and now my present lover, Christine Andersen. One of them contained her portrait. I responded on October 14. On Saturday, October 18, I received at last a letter from my dear parents. I had been waiting fourteen days for it. Three portraits came with the letter. One was from my uncle and aunt, the Jacob Petersens. The second showed my cousin Bodil, and the third my cousin Laura. In addition, there was a letter enclosed from my cousin, Oluf Christensen in Copenhagen. All of these items I acknowledged by letters on October 24.
On Monday, October 20, three letters arrived, all from Denmark. The first one I noticed was from my dear brother Albert. I answered it on October 30. The second was from my dear friend Jens Nielsen. I replied on October 27. The third was from my dear uncle, Christian Nielsen. I replied on November 2.
Tuesday evening, October 21, I quit my Job at Rasmussen's Lake House after we came to disagreement. I went directly up to Hansen at Dania Hall and lay there at nighttime. So it continued for several nights until I moved in with Hansted and boarded there. But I had no Job in the meantime, and I had to do whatever work came along. One day I cleaned the heating stove for E. Lange, the watchmaker, and got 25~ for that.
On Friday, October 24, there was a big party at Dania Hall. There was a dedication of the flag for the Danish brothers in arms (Waabenbaerere) of Racine. The flag came from old Denmark. It was brought over here by Christian Olsen, the blacksmith. He had been to Denmark and now brought the flag from the Copenhagen society of brothers in arms. There were speeches at the hall, songs were sung, and after they had banqueted there was dancing until five o'clock the next morning. The following day P. Hansen and I scrubbed the floor and cleaned up the hall.
On Monday, October 27, I got a job at the oil mill. I worked there until noon of Pentecost Day and received $2.00 for it. On Saturday, November 8, I worked for Mr. Diegens on Main Street and got $1.00. After that I had no work until Monday, November 17, at which time I worked for the same man again and got another dollar. On Thursday, November 20, I began as a clerk in a hardware and tinsmith store, but here I stayed only two days when I when I found a job as a painter at Mitchell's shop. There I was to begin on Monday the 24th and to be paid 75¢ a day to begin with.
On Saturday, November 22, I received a letter from my fiancée and one from her brother-in-law, together with a picture of his little son Laurits. These letters I answered on November 30. On Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, all shops were closed. No one worked that day, as it is observed like a prayer day at home (in Denmark). The same day I got a letter from one of my old friends and schoolmates, Carl Hansen by name. He has come to Pennsylvania in America on November 15. I mailed as answer to his letter on December 1.
On Saturday, December 5, I received a letter from my dear brother Albert, but I did not respond, since I had written before I received his letter. On Wednesday, December 17, a good friend of mine, called Lars Andersen, was married. I was invited to the wedding. I honored him with an eight-day clock together with my boarding partner. We each paid half. I enjoyed myself immensely at the wedding and left there at 1 a.m. On Tuesday the 16th and Wednesday the 17th I did not report for work, since I was not well.
Friday, December 19, 1879, after a long wait, a letter from my beloved parents and brothers and sisters, together with ten theater comedies and three of Hantzau's new songs. I answered the letter on December and thanked them many times for that which is so dear to me.
On Thursday, December 25, Christmas Day, I received a very beautiful present from Miss Anna Hansen, namely a necktie and from Lange the watchmaker a gold ring to go with the above-mentioned tie. On Wednesday, December 31, I received from my dear Uncle Christian Nielsen of Copenhagen a letter, which I answered on January 2, 1880, with wishes for a happy New Year. On New Year's Day I again received a letter from my old friend and schoolmate Carl Hansen in Pennsylvania. I responded on January 14.
Saturday, January 3, I lost my job at Michell Shop when the workplace burned down. During January I could not find any work. On Saturday, January 17, I received a letter from my dear friend Jens Nielsen and learned, to my surprise, that he had married. I responded to his letter on January 12 with congratulations on the occasion.
Monday, January 2.6, I got a letter from my dear Uncle Paul Petersen Rödovire together with a portrait of my cousin. This letter I answered on January 26. The same evening there was a theater and dance at Dania Hall, and I was there, of course, just as on New Year's Day. As a waiter for Mr. P. Hansen, I served coffee at the hall.
Tuesday, January 27, I was engaged to work for a farmer, Jacob Andersen of Norway Township, North Cape, about twenty miles from Racine. There I had to take care of cattle and do the milking. But I was here only ten days, when I returned to Racine to find work in a shop. I came back to Racine on February 5. The same evening I received a letter from my dear parents, another from my dear fiancée, and still another from my brother-in-law Cristian Jacobsen. I answered these letters, to my parents on February 20, to my fiancée on February and to my brother-in-law on February.
I have forgotten to mention that on January 24, 1880, I received a letter from my dear friend Carl Hansen in Pennsylvania, which I replied to on February 6. On Monday, February 9, there was a masquerade at Dania Hall, where of course I attended. I was a waiter for P. Hansen, and we worked until 4 in the morning. During the masquerade there was enough time for me to dress up like an old saleslady, with a knife in my arm and with white bread and newspapers. But when it became too warm after an hour or so I laid aside the mask.
Next morning and thereafter for some time I walked around looking for work, but in vain. Finally I got a job with Nelson the tinsmith at 31 State Street, but he wouldn't pay me anything for the work. That afternoon I was lucky enough to get a job with William Baumann, where I was to care for two horses and two cows for a monthly salary of $6.00, with board, lodging, and incidentals. I accepted this Job on February 17, and on the 18th I received a letter from my good friend Carl Hansen in Pennsylvania.
On March 6 I received from my dear brother Albert a letter, which I answered on March 27. I had responded to Carl Hansen's letter on March 22. On Sunday, March 14, I was down at Lake House, where Rasmussen hired me as a waiter for one year at a salary of $100.00 with lodging. I was to begin work on March 22. On the 17th, when I left Baumenn, he gave me 50¢ more than I should have received. Also a handkerchief and ¼ pound of smoking tobacco.
On Monday, March 22, I reported for work with Rasmussen, but instead of being a waiter I was made a bartender. Of course I also received higher wages, namely $18.00 a month. On Monday, March 29, there was a ball at Dania Hall for which I received $1.00 from Rasmussen to go up there. But I was there only 1 1/2 hours, after which I went home again.
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