New York, NY
Sept 29, 1896
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell
My dearest Ruth:
This night is not one to suggest very congenial thoughts and feeling somewhat depressed
in mind I seek relief in writing to you. I say I feel depressed in mind because I anticipated
spending a social evening with the one whom I prefer above all others and the one in whose
company I find my only real happiness, and then to come home amid a storm of wind and rain
which seemed to cry in my ears, “No Ruth tonight,” you will not blame me for feeling a little out of
sorts. However, as I sit here at a window listening and writing, there seems to be a far off echo,
buried beneath the more conspicuous melancholy of the night, which seems to furnish some quiet
hope. I suppose this revival of spirit comes because I am writing to you. Do you know, at least I
think it is so, that if one is removed from another whom he thinks a great deal of he can always
find himself brought very much nearer to that person by permitting his thoughts to flow from the
point of a pen. This theory arises, at least it is my present experience as I write that I can picture
you beside me while I tell you what I am now writing.
But pardon, Ruth, for taking your time required in deciphering this nonsense. It must be
nonsense, I mean sillyness? because you spoke of being “silly sometimes” in your last letter.
Somehow or other, (I guess its the other), I enjoy that peculiar kind of silliness, and it gives me
very much pleasure to indulge in it tonight. So asking your sweet pardon, once more, I will
I am very sorry our Society should be so unfavorably and perhaps undeservedly treated on
this the occasion of their Sociable.
Perhaps it is not wholly undeserved; the summer has been long with its usual allowance
of fair days and moon light nights, and perhaps the voice in the wind has a different song for them,
and says Too Late, Too Late, (in the season). I have already apologized for my own
disappointment in the night, and the only thing I have to regret now is the disappointment caused
you. After having done so much, and know you have, to get things up to a point of successful
realization, then to have dame fortune step in the way and put her foot on the whole business in
the shape of this miserable night, is really too bad. I don’t know what the refreshments were to
have been, but I only hope that Mr and Mrs Hooper will not be sick tomorrow from an
If nothing happens to prevent tomorrow night, I shall, in company with David and Walter,
go up to Cooper Union and hear Ed make his maiden campaign speech. I will just about have time
to get supper and get there comfortably after work. I know the indulgence will accrue to my
weariness the next day, and although I may not hear very much that is new, there is something
attractive about the first attempt of a brother, at oratory, in a big place like the Cooper Union.
Thursday night, my own dear Ruth, will see me with you. There is only one thing to mar the
entire pleasure of that meeting, and that is the good-bye at its close. But I will try and not think of
that part of it until it comes and by that time I hope the patience to endure it, will have somewhat
This letter has used a good many words to have said so little, but Ruth, without apologizing
further, I know you will appreciate it as a sincere effort on my part to write the dictates of my mind.
The entire vocabulary of the English language cannot tell you how much I think of you and love
you, so could I with my few words, be expected to? But I am becoming silly again, and as 10
o’clock has gone by I will have to say good night. I have for you, my Ruth, much love, and I ask for
you an abundance of God’s blessing, so with a fond good night I shall retire, only to dream of you.
Forever your Will
P.S. Breathing another apology I refer to my negligence in not returning Mr. Hunt’s geometry. Believe me, Ruth, I shall return it without fail Thursday night. WAG