Happiness Is the Greatest Essential

03 May
View from Barrell house.

View from Barrell house.

Summit, NJ
July 7, 1897

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My Dearest Ruth:

Two long days have elapsed since I finally parted with you Monday night and it
seems so long when I think of two more having to go before seeing you again. I must try
and shorten the time a little by writing you. Perhaps at this very moment you are writing me
and it seems a very pleasant thought that we can each be doing something at the same
time which will result in the other’s happiness tomorrow.

Well. Ruth, Pet, I have been thinking and worrying about you ever since I left you,
and will be glad when tomorrow evening comes, and with it a letter telling me you haven’t
had to work so hard and that you are well and happy. I hope you haven’t had to work either
of these hot days in that hotter kitchen and that you have been able to take some time for
rest and play.

I cannot quite forgive myself for having kept you up so late on Monday, having been
with you all day, and knowing so well how much you needed rest. I have always treated
you just the same Ruthy and I often wonder afterwards how I can be so unkind to the one I
love so well. This occurred to me most forcibly Ruth after leaving you last, and although I
have many times expressed a purpose to do better without success, I think with this latest
lesson I shall be alert to treat you with loving and tender consideration. Ruth, Love, if I
cannot adhere to this latest promise, I certainly will be no longer worthy of your love. 

Haven’t these been two scorchers of days though; too hot to eat even except for ice
cream. I couldn’t help wishing for a recurrence of that part of Monday’s experience, but
unlike some others there wasn’t anything very satisfying in that thought.

By discarding coat, collar, tie, etc., and rolling up sleeves, I have, with the additional
aid of electric fan, been able to keep moderately cool. I wish this spell would move off and
give us cooler weather for Saturday so we can do some wheeling without suffering too
much from the heat. I don’t suppose you have attempted anything further in learning
during this excessive weather, so if it cools off some by Saturday, I shall have some fun
giving you another lesson.

I wish that there was something new and interesting to write about Ruth, but nothing
has occurred since I saw you last that would be in the least entertaining. Was very busy
Thursday, and less so today, but expect to be very busy with the inventory before the end
of the week, and there may possibly be no half holiday for me on Saturday. It would be a
great relief to know positively about this. It’s hard to figure upon an afternoon’s pleasure
and then at the last minute, have it wrenched from you.

Ruth, Dear, you won’t be angry with me if I come over to see you for a little while
tomorrow evening, will you? Taking it for granted you won’t, I should like to visit you if the
time be ever so short. Let us make the hour of parting 9:30, so then we both can be in
dreamland by 10:00. Must not keep you up late another night, neither must I be up late
myself. We both must eat and sleep as much as possible, so as to be well and strong.
My desire to serve you truly and well, Ruth, is stronger than ever and grows as does
my love.

I hope this will find you in the very best of health and spirits, and as I am so very
happy with your love, you will be so with mine.

Since we are always to be young, Ruth, happiness is the greatest essential and
there is no reason at all why our lives shouldn’t just bubble over with it.

I have never but feebly expressed the great love which burns in my heart for you
Dear, and that love is quite capable of leading us both to complete happiness.

Ever yours,


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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Family History


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