Jan 28, 1897
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell, New Providence, NJ
My Dear Ruth:
If the night had permitted, I would now be with you in person, but as it is, I shall
have to content myself with the very poor satisfaction that writing furnishes.
My first thoughts are “how are you feeling on this dreary blizzardy night.” Are you
quite well? I hope you are, my love.
I was very glad to receive your letter Tuesday night. I didn’t quite expect it on that
day, so the pleasure it brought me was all the more intense. I read it with much interest,
and its only disappointment was that the end came too soon. How nice it would be if your
letters were so long that I could fill in all the intervals between seeing you, in reading them.
If you will only write me one as long as that, Ruth, and a little longer, then and not until
then will I even consider an apology for having written me so much.
So Joe, in his genealogical investigation as discovered that there was another Ruth
Barrell, in name at least. I don’t see how she could compare with my Ruth in any other
way. I suppose John Anderson thought that she was the only Ruth who ever was, or could
be in this world. Well I honor her because of her ancestral relationship to you, and him
because he loved her well.
No Ruth, you have not shown me Bessie’s Christmas gift to you. It is very kind of
you to dedicate it to a cause in which I shall be an equal sharer in its beauties. What a
little “Paradise that home of ours” is going to be. But I’m afraid the clause in quotation
marks shouldn’t even be whispered, its realization seems so far away.
I am wondering if you are now trying the new piece you are learning: “Moonlight
Rhapsody” is it? I shall certainly be delighted to hear it and at the same time some of the
old ones too.
When my thoughts are turned to music, it saddens me to think that I know so little
about it. I wonder if I shall be too old to learn, when the future will make it possible for us to
devote some time to this art. I would indeed have to be very dull of comprehension, not to
make progress under your instruction.
I received a letter from Mrs Brotherson yesterday advising that the special services
had been received, and suggesting that they be used on the day regularly appointed,
instead of waiting a week longer. I don’t know of any reason why this cannot be carried
out. Whatever is going to be done with the hymns will have to be decided after Sunday
I may see you tomorrow night if not at Church Sunday morning.
The room I am writing in is not very warm, consequently my feet have gotten quite
cold. The wind is making an awful fuss out doors just now, and as I listen to it, my eyes
involuntarily close and it seems to carry me tight over to your side, and it seems a difficult
task to get my thoughts back to this letter.
Be content, dearest, to view this weather from within the walls of a cozy room. To go
out is to be cold, and to be cold is to be perhaps innumerable ills.
Good night, dear Ruth, and may God watch between us when we are absent one
from the other. Most lovingly yours.