Oct 26, 1897
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell
My Dearest Ruth:
I have just about time before retiring to write you about three words and as I have
exceeded that number already will change the limit to “less than 1000.”
Our horse Billy was let out this afternoon to graze in the neighboring lots and his
habit is to return at nightfall. This evening proved an exception; he did not come back nor
could he be found upon making a search.
So, after supper, Dave and I had to go out and take our turn in the hunt, which like
all others, proved unavailing. With lantern we went down to St. Theresa’s gate through the
long entrance and made a detour of the cemetery and came back by other paths, but no
Billy. His whereabouts is now a mystery.
I tell you of this because it took the time I wanted to devote to writing you and now
shall have to curtail my letter.
I am never so busy Ruth, but that I have time to think a great deal of you. To just
stop working a minute or two, look at the two pictures I have above my desk is by far the
pleasantest diversion I have and I would not give up the privilege or the use of it for
millions. While your thinking of me so much has a tendency to make me conceited, I can’t
say just how you may be effected by it.
Perhaps it isn’t sensible, Ruth, to give me so much of your thinking moments. I’m
not worthy of it. My thinking of you is very different, for in doing so, I have in mind one who
is away above me in every way and in whose character I always find something to
It is a worry to me as well to hear that Ethel is not so very well and that she finds
disagreeable features in her school course.
I am commencing to think that Normal school’s are all alike. Places where the
average of intellect of those who attend is not very high and who in order to become any
kind of a credit or discredit to the profession have to be put through a course of studies
that must certainly be monotonous to one of Ethel’s mind.
You must not let Ethel remain in Albany if she continues to lose ground in regard to
her health. My lamp or light is going out so I will have to hurry and close.
Will gladly write Ethel, as you request, and will try to make it bright as possible, but
Ruth, writing won’t get at any physical ills and I hope you all will not fail to do quickly what
is necessary to make her well.
I thank you very much for your letter of today and last night and thank you for
bringing it over. I’m always glad at night to know you have been here. It seems to make
home bright on those occasions.
Yes Ruth, that accident on the Central was a most dreadful affair. Do you remember
about where it happened, I don’t.
The awful deaths of nineteen souls who perished is really only part of the horror,
although the cause of it all. It is terrible to think of the devastated homes and the agony of
friends, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands and parents of those who lost their lives. The
most painful case I think is that of young McKay, the superintendents stenographer who
rode in the locomotive and whose body has not yet been found. He was but a few months
Is there anything I can get in the line of medicine or anything else that would be of
use to Ethel, and let me know by return mail and I will procure and express it to her without
I think she needs a good tonic and there is none better than the mixture I have been
taking, quine iron and strychnine.
I can as easily as not procure a fruit(sp) of this and pack in excelsior and send to
her by express, if you say so.
Will get, with pleasure, the stuff Bob wants, at first opportunity.
Am getting busy and cannot say now whether I shall be able to get the 5:40 to W. S.
any night this week, and when I think of your meeting me in the night and having to get up
early and prepare breakfast for me, and then take me to the station, when at this season
the weather is not apt to be pleasant, I don’t think I am doing just what is right.
Must close now with much love to my own Ruth and many kisses. Also best wishes
for your perfect health. I am
Pardon haste, will write again.