Nov 12, 1896
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell, New Providence, NJ
My Dear Ruth:
It is quite late, later than usual, but I must write you a few lines in acknowledgment of your
pretty letter, for the sending of which you make such unjustified apology. Next to seeing you, your
letter furnished me the greatest pleasure possible, and I want to thank you more than I can
express for your loving kindness in writing it.
There is one part of your letter, however, which I must take exception to, that which told of
your wood cutting experiment. While I am not blind to the funny part of it, above all I see the
exertion it caused you, and while the old adage “saw wood” is sometimes good advice, it rather
pains me to think of my Ruth indulging in any such practice. Please don’t do it again. If it is
necessary at all, make Uncle Charlie do the whole job.
Yes I too have thought of the duck incident of Sunday last. Am very sorry that one of the
pet superstitions of our grandmothers should fail to pan out, and that before our very eyes. I don’t
mean that I am sorry it didn’t rain Sunday, no not at all, but I have always had a deep respect for
“the odds and ends and the superstitious ways, and the signs of the times in my grandmother’s
days,” and what I do regret is to have seen one of them disproved, thereby upsetting my faith, in
the faith of my respected grandparents! Is this right?
But how about today? I’m willing to wager that if you had been in the vicinity of Pages’
place this morning you would have tired of the monotony of ducks parading single file.
Perhaps I’d better keep faith a little longer; it has certainly rained today, and I have no
reason to believe that the ducks didn’t parade.
I am very glad indeed to hear that Abe’s child is getting well. In his case, of course, the
pleasure is a natural result of his having nursed the children and with a physique like his, he will
very quickly throw it off.
The true loneliness of my position when away from you, comes right home to me when you
talk of singing, which is a past time, when with you, that always proved exceptionally pleasant. I
couldn’t say positively whether you have ever sung me “By the Blue Sea.” I might know the tune
and still not remember the title. If it is “Sweet and Low” it at once becomes a favorite of mine
without having heard it. Sing it for me some time, won’t you?
I have not been so busy this week as I thought I would be. Partly because there has not
been so much work to do and partly because I am becoming better acquainted with it and can
dispose of it with greater facility.
I think perhaps I shall see you tomorrow night, if all goes well, and the ducks let the
weather alone. I cannot, of course, let my anticipations rise too high for tomorrow might be the
busiest day of the week. If I can by any means manage it, I shall go straight to the Prayer Meeting
room, where you will most likely be.
I, too, Ruth spend long intervals in conscious dreamland, and cannot help even in my
waking hours, longing for the time when our lives shall know no separation. I know that I should
not and really do not want anything to happen prematurely, and it is chiefly due to my great lack of
patience that I sometimes suffer all most intolerable misery for being away from you at all. I will
always try to remember the old proverb “All things come to him who waits,” which in our case is
bound to prove true sooner or later.
I will not write any more tonight, Ruth, neither shall I apologize for what I have already
written, how ever much my letter might deserve it. I want you to forget its faults and to see only
the love which prompts, another heart that fulfills.
Good night my dear, obey better my plea that you take care of your self, let the fire execute
the oak timber! and believe me to be
as ever yours,