Oct 2, 1894
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ
It is just a week since I rec’d your second letter and I hope you will not attribute my
delay in answering to neglect, but really a consideration on my part. I mean to say that I
knew you would be in receipt of something from home, about Friday past which would
probably occupy all your spare moments and the monotony of a letter from me would only
tend to mar your complete enjoyment of same.
It does one good to know that although your school work is difficult and arduous,
that there is some pleasure derived at the same time. I am glad to hear you have secured
more desirable quarters and that your room is so thoroughly equipped with all modern
conveniences and safe guards. I hope your fire escape will be a source of great pleasure
as a balcony but that nothing so unfortunate will occur to make its presence an absolute
necessity. I think a moderately small room well furnished is a great deal nicer than an
unnecessarily large room, whose scant supply of furniture seems lost and where there is a
large area of blank space always staring one in the face.
I don’t think it will require a tremendous effort on your part to be successful in the
work you have undertaken. You are one of a family who have inherited a strong appetite
for study and books and I’m sure it will be very much easier for you than for others less
I was down to your home Thursday eve over a week ago and saw Mr Barrell (Uncle
Charley); he seemed happy as usual and so did every other member of the family. You
were certainly the favorite topic of conversation, and it was then I first saw the crude
outline of what culminated in the little volume, appropriately styled “Ye Most Faithful
Record.” By the way, what do you think of it? Am I asking too much? Is there anything
within its pages that reminds you very strikingly of pleasant episodes of the past? You’ve
probably had scarlet fever all over again since you received it.
New Providence is the same place still. It seems to have lapsed into a state of
semiconsciousness; if it ever was otherwise I don’t know. The barber keeps shaving and
the bartender in Crate’s is kept hustling, I guess. The plans for the formation of an
atheletic, anti-liquor organization for young men seems to have fallen through entirely.
The weather here is cool, clear and altogether delightful, perhaps it’s just about the
same in Trenton. We didn’t get the great bi-southern cyclone which was so positively
predicted and I am very glad of it. If I am not any more correct in my judgement of the
weather, I think we’ll have snow at Thanksgiving? And you will be driven over from
Farmwood in a sleigh. That would beat wheeling it over, wouldn’t it?
Chestnuts are rife. Its too bad you are not here so that we could add a nutting
expedition to our “Diary” and make our list of Rambles more complete.
Bessie tells me you have lost considerable avoirdupois since you left. What is the reason? Don’t be backward, Ruth, don’t entertain any scruples when it comes to taking the last piece of bread. Walter says now that he is glad he didn’t go to Trenton, not because he wouldn’t get enough to eat himself, but because his eating enough would make others suffer. But, be of good cheer, there’s a good time coming. “A fatter calf” awaits you and I trust you will let the anticipation of the good things you will receive at Thanksgiving time buoy you up and tend rather to increase your weight than diminish it.
Walter starts in tomorrow (Wednesday) and hopes to be able to go and come from
here; if he finds it impossible to do this he will make arrangements to stay with Ed and
Gardie is going to school in Summit and will graduate again next January.
It is now time to close, (I mean the store), as the wagon is waiting and the end of the
page is at hand. I trust you will write me whenever you feel that you are not depriving any
more worthy than I. Goodnight
Very truly yours
W A Gray