New York, NY
July 28, 1898
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell
My Dearest Ruthy:
It seems to be, it I remember right, I wrote you a “scrappy” nonsensical letter the
other night, and was duly surprised and pleased that it not only brought a reply, but a very
substantial order for our goods as well. This is very good so far as it goes. Your order was
regularly entered but when it got to the credit department there it was dead locked. Such a
large sample order is very rare and of course our secretary wanted to know who this Ruthy
Barrell is, not having had the pleasure of having done business with her before. I could
vouch for her character only and all I said didn’t seem to have sufficient weight. So, I beg
to advise you that while we would very much like to ship you the goods, as a matter of
business precaution cannot do so unless we receive a check for $895.68, amount of
invoice, upon receipt of which we will gladly forward the goods, etc, etc.
One whole page devoted to the most nonsensical kind of nonsense to say nothing
of paper, ink and time, every moment of which I am stealing from a much needed sleep.
Your letter reached me about 6 o’clock yesterday evening, not expected at just that hour,
but all the more welcome as it came just at the close of a long tedious day, when nerves
and brain required most the soothing effect of a letter written by your hand.
This is the night I thought I would be able to break away and possibly get a glimpse
of you and a real kiss, but had to drop the anticipation very early in the week just the
morning after I wrote you. In fact, the manager asked my help on a Princess Ware catalog
which must be in the printers hands by Aug 1, so as my days and nights too were already
pretty well taken up, this meant I would have to work quicker and later to get this work
When tonight came I had such a headache that I found it a physical impossibility to
work longer, so decided at 7 o’clock come what may, I would not work longer. So I went out
and had a little to eat, more as a matter of habit than desire, and started up to where I now
am. How hot it is: Is the country just as bad. Was in a state of perspiration when I got here
and lost no time getting into night clothes, but I still continue to perspire, with window open
and only a few feet from it.
Your lucky clover of Tuesday is before me, bereft of kisses, but still possessing its
charms of fortune and association that make it eternally dear to me. Am glad you were
able to get out on your wheel. I can enjoy the knowledge that you’ve been for a ride just as
much as tho I had been there myself.
Unfortunately, just across the way from where I am there is a piano, a man, and a
woman. They have been singing solos all the time I’ve been here, alternately. The mans
voice is like the roar of a bull, the womans — not so bad, but pretty tough to have to listen
to. Just now she was grasping or gasping for a note that is on the piano away up where the
keyboard ceases. Ah, thank goodness, she’s down again.
This is horrible weather for people not well. I hope Ethel’s recovery is not retarded
by it. Give her my best wishes, please.
Well, Dearest, ever remembering my promise to get to bed by ten, I have not
succeeded to do so one night this week. Even now it is 10:15, and so hot that to sleep
seems most impossible. However, will try it very shortly and will probably succeed.
Ruthy, Dearest, this page is for good nights, kisses, and well wishes.
I hope you are very well, and happy. I am well, considering so don’t worry and with
two weeks vacation soon to come, feel sure that I’ll get fat.
It seems hard to have no time at all for pleasure, but what’s the use of kicking so
long as it promises not to last a lifetime.
With you to turn to Dear, all is sunshine for me and I’m thankful that such a true,
noble woman loves me and makes the future so full of brightness.
Take good care of yourself Ruthy, and let me know if there be anything I can do for
Will see you as soon as I can which I fear will not be until Sunday. Next week will be
easier. Good night Dearest Ruthy,
I send your (or my) clover back with eight kisses — Keep the kisses dear, but please
return the flower to me. Good-night and good bye until Sunday.