New Providence, NJ
Sept 18, 1894
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ
Your most welcome letter was received this evening about 7 o’clock upon my way
home from Summit.
You can imagine my great pleasure in hearing directly from you when I tell you that I
had almost resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t have the pleasure of addressing you
until Thanksgiving Day, (and that verbally), nine long weeks off. Of course I would have
heard from Bessie from time to time concerning your welfare, still so long as the
government furnished so splendid a mailing system, I don’t know why we shouldn’t use it to
our mutual pleasure, do you? So I’m heartily glad, Ruth, you broke the ice.
I am delighted to hear you are getting along so nicely, and that things are so
pleasantly arranged as to give no room for homesickness to set in. I trust your Hoboken
friend will not be representative of the misfortune we shared at our last game of cards
together, but cheat the town she comes from, by proving a most interesting and agreeable
companion. I don’t think you are wasting any time down there even though you may never
use the information you receive for a pecuniary end. To be competent to give your sisters
a higher education than New Providence will afford will certainly be a source of
gratification to you and you will consider yourself fully repaid for the 3 years of patient
struggle required to secure it.
Your advance in music will doubtless be very rapid now and after 3 years of study
under a Prof you will be a real expert. Sunday must be your loneliest day, but doubtless
your mind is fully occupied with thoughts of home and church & friends. Then by resorting
to your picture gallery you can let your imagination carry you on back to your home and
the old routine of Sunday work — church, Sunday school, and Christian Endeavor Meeting
and it won’t be so lonely after all. Don’t you think our New Providence church will have lost
its interest for you after you become used to the music, superior sermons and general
fascination of an attractive city church?
I studied my first S S lesson from your quarterly last Sunday, but I didn’t dare bring
it with me to school, lest Mr Hooper would expect too much of me.
I like your arrangement of photos as illustrated in your letter and am glad you have
such a keen appreciation of my love for water, by placing me between two rivers. You have
two spaces at the top, one on either side of your Mother’s that could be appropriately filled,
I think, one with the picture of Joe and the other with that of yourself. Then your photo
gallery would certainly be more complete.
You ask me if I’m going to remain in Summit this winter. I think I’ll have to — Walter’s
school work will occupy all his time, Ed and Dave have already secured a room in the city
and will not be home except on Sundays. So you see the prospect is anything but cheerful
for me. But I intend to improve every leisure moment. I have taken up Stenography and I
think to pursue it properly it will keep me out of mischief. Don’t you think so?
Ruth, it is now past midnight, and I could keep on writing until day lights, but I want
to save something for next time. I’m ever so glad you occupied those 10 minutes before
dinner so pleasantly for me and trust you will find many just such intervals that you will use
This is the first letter I ever addressed to a young lady, so you will pardon all
mistakes, grammatical and otherwise, and think it a most sincere effort of
very truly yours
How exceeding kind the weather has been to us. When pleasure excursions
demand clear fine weather, we got it. Now when serious pursuits keep us inside it rains
unceasingly. Lucky mortals we, after all.
The Cuckoo just crowed for one to me.