March 3, 1897
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell, New Providence, NJ
My own dear Ruth:
I did not see you last night as I expected, consequently it seems so long since our
parting on Sunday, until I may have the pleasure of seeing you again that I must break the
interval by writing.
I fully expected to be a guest at your public supper last night, but as I was walking
up from the station, the sky looked very stormy and even then rain was commencing to fall.
Although usually not inclined to let rain interfere with any of my plans, especially one which
involved the seeing of you, I decided to postpone my visit until a more favorable night,
thinking at the same time, that you would rather I’d do so, than run the risk of getting wet.
I’m afraid the night spoiled the financial result of the supper, didn’t it? I’m sorry the
weather was not what it ought to have been but when I think of my pretty waitress and the
fact that fair weather would have brought her additional work, my sorrow drops 99 % in its
intensity, and gladness begins to creep in.
Poor six year old chicken, that I should have been compelled to let it go
unmolested. I have no doubt some one was there to meet the fowl in battle royal, and shall
expect to hear a very exciting account of the episode, when next we meet.
Upon arriving home Sunday, I referred to my volume of Tennyson’s Poems, and
hurriedly turned to “Lockley Hall,” curious to know the completion of the verse which you
quoted in part. I quickly found it, and do you know, Ruth, I was very disappointed. I knew,
by instinct, I guess that it was some thing of love, but I expected to find something of a
deep pretty nature, instead of the crude uncouth statement. It is doubtless true, so far as it
goes, but after just having left you my mind and thoughts were geared up to something
“In the Spring, a young mans fancy
Lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
Doesn’t it strike you, as being very empty and void of truth. I guess it does; that
explains why you didn’t finish the verse. Why should a young man’s fancy turn to love in
the spring time, any more than any other time. Take my case, for instance, I have loved
Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter all alike. Maybe there is some hidden meaning which
is too complex for me to grasp. If there is Ruth, won’t you please explain?
My dear Ruth, don’t waste any time in re-reading what I have written in the
foregoing. I am feeling quite well tonight and happy — happy in your love, my Dear, and
what I have written is indicative of the condition of my mind. Not worrying about anything in
particular, what I write has a silly meaningless strain through it, which will be certainly quite
tiresome for you to read. However, Ruth, as your nature is to forgive, I will impose upon
that part of it once more.
Monday night was the only opportunity I’ve had to go over our new duet and I found
some difficult wading before I got out of the more. On first attempt I find it pretty hard, I
don’t know whether time will make it easier or not but if you will promise to exert the
necessary patience, and as an Instructor not to criticize my clumsiness too much, I will try
to do the best I can with it. I find that the bass in two of the Spanish Dances is easier for
me than the “Witches Frolic” and I will point them out when next we get a chance to play.
I don’t know now when I shall see you next. Have been very busy today and
tomorrow promises to be a long day with perhaps some overtime. I have about 500
statements to list and mail and then shall probably have to help with the trial balance,
which consists, I was told of 13 pages. So the chances are that I shall not see you until
Saturday, and as the week’s work is then accomplished, we are free to have a nice time
together, without our little meeting being broken into by the demands of the following day’s
toil. Speaking of work reminds me that I have still to shave tonight and be in readiness for
the 6:20 tomorrow.
How is your cold? Is it all gone yet? I hope it is. Try not to catch any additional. This
is the weather when loads of colds are about, looking for harbors. Grip is now very
prevalent and we all must be careful to avoid it.
I am going to try to have this letter reach you by tomorrow mail. Then perhaps you
can or will write so I can hear from you tomorrow night. Won’t you dear?
I have written this letter hurriedly and ask your pardon for taking the time necessary
for deciphering it.
My Darling Ruth, how very happy I would now be if I could just kiss you and say
good night, but since that cannot be so I shall have to say good night without the kiss, and
save it for another time. Be very careful of your precious self and accept my whole hearts