Bleeding Hearts and
On New Year's Day in 1884, a forty-eight-year-old Carnegie made his customary visit to the Whitfield residence, but his feelings this winter day were dramatically different than four years before. This was no social call beginning and ending with gay salutations and in between filled with pleasant observations and reflections; tension between Louise and him made for an uncomfortable situation. Carnegie's stories and jokes did lighten the mood eventually, and that night Louise noted in her diary: “Very happy time. Let me record it for it is probably the last.” 1 Unable to share Carnegie with his demanding business, let alone his mother, Louise argued in the ensuing days that the relationship was not going to work, that the engagement should be called off. He was not so willing to let go, however, and countered that more time together and a recommitment to each other would permit them to evolve. After hearing him out, on January 6 she agreed to a “cessation of hostilities.” 2
Frequent invitations followed in which Carnegie's desires couldn't have been more transparent: “Miss Florence, Mr Phipps and I going to Theatre tonight. Can we call for you. Want you very much. Answer.” 3 What he didn't know, however, was that for three months there was no mention of his name in Louise's diary until finally, on April 1, she wrote, “Mr. C. sent for me to ride—went to painting lesson and then to ride with A.C. Very nice but so tired—quite used up in the evening.” 4 The covert relationship, Carnegie's threats to live abroad, his business commitments, and his dynamic, restless personality exhausted Louise. Finally, on April 23, she insisted they break off their engagement. Symbolic of the seriousness of their break, they returned all the letters they had written to each other. 5
Failure was not something Carnegie was accustomed to and the broken engagement made him miserable. He had wanted her to share in his success,
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Carnegie. Contributors: Peter Krass - Author. Publisher: Wiley. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 193.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.