March 23, 1897
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell, % Mr James Myrick, 279 Gates Ave, Brooklyn, New York
My dear Ruth:
In a few words, I can give you a history of my actions since I left you last Sunday night. I
arrived at my room in New York just as a clock in a neighboring church tower was striking eleven,
and it is needless to say that not many minutes elapsed until I was in dreamland. But before I fell
asleep, the different incidents of the day just closed passed before my mind, and do you know,
Ruth, before slumber did take possession, I had resolved to undertake my work with increased
energy, and I seemed to have been filled with revived ambition. Perhaps you will wonder what
caused this; I’ll tell you: In my reverie of the events of the day my mind dwelt particularly on the
happiness which seemed to reign in the home of your cousin Tom, and in that home, I saw loom
before me a vision of what ours might be, sometime in the future, sooner or later, according to the
effort put forth to attain it. Hence my resolution to work harder from now on. Ruth, the great love
you so nobly bestow is to me a sacred responsibility and if God will spare me and give me
strength, I will some day perhaps be worthy of that pure noble love. I never can do for you quite as
much as I shall want to, that is because there isn’t any thing, in my eyes, quite good enough for
you Dear. My ideas are high. Can I bring about the realization of them? I can and will.
But I started to tell you of my movements since Sunday and it seems I left off in the
I was downtown Monday morning at 7:45 and after about an hours participation in
breakfast and newspaper, started in to work. The day seemed to pass quickly and 7:15 P M found
me where I am now. Mama did not worry about my not getting home, surmising correctly that I was
repeating what I have often been guilty of before, that is going to spend the evening with you and
making a night of it instead.
There are two things I would like to call your attention to in this picture, the natural …
I am wondering whether you have written me today. I shall look for a letter tomorrow
evening. In this respect, I am like a poor shipwrecked seaman, who is up in the mast top, his
hands shading his eyes, and scanning the horizon for any chance of deliverance. Just as eager I
will be in anticipation of word form you.
The abruptness of our parting Sunday was not the kind to fortify one against the
onslaughts of loneliness which attend our separation, and I shall be glad to receive even one word
of love and encouragement from you, my Love.
You spoke in your last letter about the kinds of ring you would like. Of course, Ruth, I
wouldn’t have purchased anything of the kind without first consulting you as to your desires. The
ring by right should have come with our engagement, but you know the reason it didn’t dear, and
for that same reason I cannot get it just yet. The ring I want you to wear may be as plain as rings
can be, but I cannot permit it to be a cheap one. It is to last you all your life, Ruth, and it must
therefore have the wearing qualities. When the time comes that I can supply it, I shall talk to you
further and your wishes in the matter shall be implicitly followed. You will have to have an
abundance of patience with me, all the way through, Ruth, and with God’s help I will strive to repay
you for the exercising of it.
I must stop now, dear, as it is bedtime. I think I shall appreciate more than ever seeing you
once more in your home, the dearest of places, which I hope will be before long. I hope you are
very well and that Bessie’s cold is gone.
Good night, Dearest.