Jan 6, 1897
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell, New Providence, NJ
My Dear Ruth:
Nothing could have been more welcome than your sweet letter which I found awaiting my
home coming tonight. I have neither words nor anything else to offer that would adequately repay
you for all the sunshine and love you scatter in my path, making what ordinarily would be a dull
monotonous existence one most pleasantly attractive. After reading your letter I could not help
thinking of that familiar verse:
and the night’s shall be filled with music
and the thoughts that infest the days
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away
How sweet will be the time when in our lives this verse will find steady application.
You dear dear girl, to be candid I think I like silly Ruthy quite as well as I do dignified Ruth. I
love them both dearly and they are too closely related to make any distinction.
I am very well tonight, and have quite forgotten that I did any skating this year, which is to
say that I am prepared for some more (not much more) so the faster the river freezes over the
better. What could be more delightful than the river a glassy sheet of ice coupled with the
moonlight nights that are now at hand.
I don’t know why the reason is but it is a fact that I cannot seem to present to you any set
of words that would go to make up a respectable letter.
I have read your letter over twice up to now and it has brought me so close to you that I
cannot think of any thing else. My mind even now pictures you seated at your piano playing, I
don’t know what, but I can hear the music and its vibrations come to my mind with indescribable
Ruth, I do a lot of dreaming and secure much satisfaction from it, even though some of it
doesn’t promise very early realization.
I’m afraid I cannot wait until Sunday to see you next. I want to hear some of your Operatic
Selections, to hear you sing and perhaps play some duets. Quite a long program, for one night
isn’t it, but we’ll have to crowd matters a little to get it all in.
I cannot tell you whether I’ll see you Thursday or Friday or Saturday. It depends upon
which evening will give me the opportunity. I have been very busy every day this week and will
probably be so for several days to come.
The rush is due to the coming of the New Year and the fact that some 68 statements have
to be made giving the numerical details of last year’s business. They are all long complicated
affairs and if all my time was devoted to them I could not complete more than 3 or 4 a day.
Monday evening I didn’t get through until 7:00 P M and I didn’t have energy enough left to
go home, so went up town and bunked with Walter all night.
Do not expect me on any particular night; I will come when I can and straight from the train
if I can get the 5:40.
In the meantime, I send you much love and kisses. I prefer to retain them for personal
Do not be particular as to your mood when we meet. I shall be quite satisfied to see Ruth,
who is at all times, the loveliest noblest and best girl in all the world.
P S I will read your letter once more, and retire.