New Providence, NJ
July 19th, 1898
From: Ruth Barrell
To: William A Gray
My Dearest Will: –
It is just nine o’clock and this is my first opportunity to be with you alone. Ethel is still
far from well. She suffers so from headache and backache. The Dr. says it is only a cold
and nothing serious. He has reduced her fever very well though she is not entirely
free from it yet. He changed her medicine some today and I hope by tomorrow she will be
free from all those troublesome headaches. I have spent all my spare moments with her
today. Mother or Bessie being with her at those times when I was not. I read her
“Evangeline,” commenced it last night and finished it this morning. She had never read it
before. I think it a beautiful poem, don’t you?
This afternoon I commenced reading “The Queen of Hearts,” by Wilke Collins. I
read until my throat was tired this evening. I like it very much. Did you ever read it?
The country around here is flooded from all the water that was dumped down on us
this afternoon. I had to rig up in my costume of last May to feed the chickens tonight. It
reminded me of those rainy Sundays we spent in the month of May.
I told Ethel today she wasn’t missing any good bike weather. That will apply to your
situation too. But it must be dreadfully stuffy anywhere in the city in such weather as we
are being treated to. It is dreadful even in the country. I hope you are not working so late
as you did last week. Do be careful Will and keep your health above all things.
Between weather, routine work and Ethel’s illness, I find it hard to find any thing of
interest to tell you, besides, I am very sleepy just now and all I can think of is, my Will, and
I long for you tonight with that longing which grows as each day goes by, and brings me
closer to you Will, every day. In every condition of life, in joy, or in sorrow, in health, or in
sickness, sleepy or very wide awake, it is my Will I turn to, in reality when you are here
and in my thoughts when you are absent. O, how I love to be near you, so near you. This
chapter to be continued all our lives, repeated day after day, and I feel that God will not
have us far apart in the perfect life beyond.
All have retired and I must follow. I am so sleepy, you know how I look. I’ll try and
Goodnight Will dear,
P.S. Just time for a word. Ethel is better this morning. There is heaps of work to be
done, so I must not tarry now.
Your busy loving