Oct 28, 1897
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell
My Dearest Ruth:
Here I am again, all the work of the day over, comfortably seated to have a nice little
talk with you before going to bed.
I found your letter awaiting me and notwithstanding its threats, (!), thank you for all
the pleasure found in it reading.
I hope Ethel’s next letter will be more hopeful of everything and that it will reassure
your Mother, who I’m afraid is not very easy in mind about Ethel’s health.
I see there is really nothing I could do for the dear girl that you at home could not do
ten times better by being in New York daily. I thought perhaps there might be something I
could get, not obtainable in N. P.
I wrote her a lot of nonsense last night and expect she will be ready to punch me the
next time we meet.
I tried to combine a little seriousness with it in telling her to eat and sleep lots, but
like my letters to you and like you, My Dear Ruth, I’m afraid she will be not able to separate
the serious from the silly.
The funny part of our Billy’s loss the other night was that even while writing you of
his disappearance he had returned, entered the stable himself, and when found was with
calm deliberation putting away the contents of the oat barrel and I didn’t know he had
My dear innocent Ruth, don’t you know me yet? I did not mean you to take seriously
all I said about your saying it wasn’t sensible to think of me so much or so well of me. Of
course you didn’t say any such thing, and the construction of your words that I put upon
them was only in fun. It is a bad habit of mine in writing you to blend the serious part of my
letters so with the nonsense that it would require a very fine filter to separate them.
Speaking of my own conceit was meant if I remember rightly, for nothing less than
a tribute to my esteem of you. My love for you Ruthy dear is too great and strong to admit
of saying or writing to you a single displeasing word and hereafter I will guard my letters
and conversation in a way consistent with that love.
I know full well Ruth that it gives you great pleasure to do anything for me, and Dear
your every little and great acts of kindness towards me is deeply appreciated and coupled
with the hope of doing great and fine for you someday.
I did not say or leave it to be inferred that any of you, and more especially you, my
Pet, felt in the least troublesome in what attention I get when remaining with you, but that
does not prove there is not any trouble involved. If I feel that it is best for you that your
sleep be not interrupted and that bed must be more comfortable than getting up and taking
me to the station, you’ll forgive me Ruth, won’t you? I confess it to you only, Ruth, that in
all this I am trying to be a little less selfish, if I can.
I hope you are not wearied of all you find on the other side of this sheet. I have tried
to make a few things clear and your understanding of me will clear away what is still
obscure. O Ruth, I would much rather have you very near me and say all the things to you
tonight instead of writing them. It always seems in a hurried letter like this that there is so
much I wanted to say, unwritten.
I wish this were Wednesday. If it was I don’t know but I would take back some of
what I said about getting you up early, and go and see you tomorrow. It is
unusual for either of us to wish for time to turn back in its flight.
As it is, Ruth, I won’t see you until Saturday and if the weather is nice will you meet
me at Summit upon the arrival of the mail train? Perhaps the weather wil be more pleasant
than last Saturday and make a little side excursion possible.
Don’t come Ruth if the weather is not clear and healthy.
Have not had anything like a chill this week and find myself now in first rate
Take good care of yourself my own Dearest Ruth, and just for fun see how fat you
Must say goodnight now and retire as tomorrow is our busy day. With much love
and promise of many kisses which I will fulfill Saturday, if you’ll let me. I am