The Only Approach I Have to You During Your Absence

05 Apr
Ethel, Dolly, Ruth (1889)

Ethel, Dolly, Ruth (1889)

Summit, NJ
Oct 11, 1896

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell, % Mr A R Holbert, Lawton, Orange Co, NY

My Dear Ruth:

Everything tonight seems to contribute to make one, or more correctly me, feel
lonesome and melancholy. This has been a long dismal day. It has been cold out and
cloudy and just now (8.20 ½ PM) the wind and rain are having a very boisterous time. But
the weather tonight has nothing to do with this lonesomeness which seems to so entirely
possess me. It is because of my separation from you, Ruth, a separation which I can
never reconcile myself to and in which event I shall always feel just as I do tonight. I have
always, since my more intimate acquaintance with you, looked forward to Sunday as the
day of all the week upon which I was happiest, but in looking back over the happy
Sunday’s of the past, I shall have to exclude the two dated Oct 4th and 11th.

But in starting this letter I did not mean to communicate anything but bright thoughts
and if you will forgive the past, I shall try to proceed in pleasant strains.

I haven’t much to write about, but I’ll try and tell you how I spent the day. To
commence the day I went to church — which by the way was held in the Christian
Endeavor room, the church heater being out of shape. It is needless to say that the late
comers, those who were compelled to sit around the stove, and of whom I was one, were
almost roasted to death. However, I was glad I went for it didn’t occur to me until I got there
that this was Communion Sunday. I walked home with Mrs Barrell and saw your sisters. 

Ethel on the sitting room pouring over a bound volume of Harper’s Weekly which dated
away back to 68 — and Dolly in the kitchen pouring over the dinner, I guess. I noticed your
sitting room was still pending the arrival of the stove man so I guess you’ll arrive home in
time to help replace the carpet. Your mother told me she received a penciled note from you
stating that you would be home sometime Thursday, which was very interesting news for
me. You have missed something very good I guess in the way of a Violincello Recital at
the N Y College of Music, a ticket for which arrived during your absence. The Recital took
place Saturday night last and the piano accompanist was Miss Terrell.

Dorothy (Dolly), Ruth, Bessie, and Ethel

Dorothy (Dolly), Ruth, Bessie, and Ethel

Dinner was too late to permit my getting to Sunday School, although I could have
gone, had I accepted Mrs Barrell’s kind invitation to stay at your house for dinner. But I
couldn’t consistently accept that invitation when you weren’t there.

When you are at home I feel that I have a partial excuse for staying but in your
absence, none at all.

But next Sunday Ruth? How about next Sunday? You have been away from me for
two Sundays now, so can’t I expect to have you all for myself next Sunday?

As I told you, I didn’t go to Sunday School, but David, Walter and I went to the
afternoon service in the Episcopal Church in Summit.

They have a very beautifully equipped church, in fact I haven’t seen the interior of
any church that surpasses it. Their service is of the high church order, so high in fact that I
couldn’t grasp it all in its soaring. While portions of their service are very pretty, there are
others which I never could become used to.

I have been wondering how you have spent this very cloudy day? I hope the cold,
disagreeable weather has in no way marred the pleasure of your trip.

My pen being attached to a very shakey holder, has just fallen into the ink bottle,
and as I could not find another, have had to resort to a fountain pen, to which is due this
very coarse writing and I notice that it hasn’t much ink in it.

When I write to you Ruth, I never seem to say just what I would like to and during
the past week and including this one I will have influted some very uninteresting letters on
you for which I ask pardon.

However effective my letters may be I know the writing of them give me a deal of pleasure and I know you would rather suffer the receipt of them than to deny me this pleasure, the only approach I have to you during your absence.

My mind is already directed toward your homecoming and the occasion of our next meeting, How happy it makes me feel to think of it- only two, perhaps three short days until that time I shall say goodbye. Accept from me the deepest affection and the fullness of my heart’s love. Good night, dear Ruth.

Ever your own


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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Family History


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