Feb 20, 1910
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray
My own dear wife, Ruthy:
This is the time of day when It really hurts to be away from you. I can only console
myself with the home picture. I think the sweetest home in all the world. Sunday evening,
supper over perhaps rather early, then the children’s songs, little Katharine taking a
leading part, and finally the undressing, that long drawn out job, purposely so on the
children’s part to make the dear Mama read just one more story. I think this is the life
drama being enacted in the far off Forest Hill home to-night and what a sweet pure picture
Went to bed last night about 9 P.M. and slept soundly until 6 A.M., turned over and
took another nap until a little after 7, getting up thoroughly slept out. The morning dawned
bright and clear. Had breakfast at eight and while eating it your sweet letter, written on the
evening of my departure, was delivered. Ruthy, wife and sweetheart this letter was just
exactly the one I was waiting to receive. Brimful of love of encouragement and helpfulness.
Ruthy, it is just the sort of help I need which you are giving me, and with your pure strong
love and support all problems will dissolve and we will reach a time when we can lay down
the heavier burdens, and enjoy together the fruit of our hard work and the joys which come
out of right living.
My greatest I want to make is my controlling ambition is to be from now on just
the sort of husband you want me to be. As time goes on I want to do everything to make
your burdens lighter. In a word, Dearest, you are the sweetest best girl that ever lived and I
want to show in my life that I mean every word of love and praise I have ever spoken to
you either by word or letter.
How natural it is to get into these love talks. No other subject seems more
interesting to us, who by our life of very close intimacy are virtually one in heart and soul,
and in a life like ours there is a desire to keep up the boy & girl love. It is so sweet and
satisfying to be able to do this and not let the cares and responsibilities of the present
rushing existence crowd it into a corner. Ruthy, this to you will be understood even if it is
rambling and broken in thought. You know I have long ago exhausted the vocabulary in
saying of you what my heart dictates, and all I can do is to repeat the story o’er and o’er. I
know it is all sweet music to my Ruthy lovers ears.
Well I’ll tell you something of the day and its events. After breakfast, not
withstanding my slight soreness, I mounted my sorrel “Patsy” (a good old Irish name) and
off we started on a 3 horse jaunt. Yesterday sort of broke me in and today I enjoyed the
ride very much. If I needed a shaking up, I certainly got it. I have a sort of soreness in all
the muscles of my body and arms as a result. I find too that I have surplus flesh here and
there and in these few spots there is some chafing, but withal a small price to pay for so
fine a sport. I kept right up with the two veterans, accusing my horse of not being as
speedy as his so we put it to a test and I beat him out.
We returned to the Inn about 12:15 P.M. having been in the saddle about 3 hours. I
took a sponge bath, rubbed down with “Ponds Extract” and went down to dinner, a little
stiff, but not suffering any great discomfort.
The great feature of interest at this place is the “Cavern of Luray.” We made a tour
of this cave after dinner. It lies about a mile from the inn, which we covered by stage and
were shown the many interesting features of the cave by an old guide who has been
showing tourists through it more years than you or I are old. The entire route through the
cave is a mile and a half and the postals I enclose will tell you better of its wonders than I
We returned to the hotel about 4:30 where we took off most of our duds and lay
down for a 2 hour snooze. Beginning this letter we had just returned from church, a
Methodist service, and it was all quite refreshing. I enjoyed the singing which I engaged in
So here I am sweetheart having cited the days events, alone with you. I feel, as
your letter states, your arms reaching out to embrace me just as you do dear little Florence
Adele, and like Florence, I am happy, very happy.
The day clouded up as the morning advanced and we had one or two squalls of hail
or sleet. It is now drizzling and freezing on the side walk, much the same as in Newark,
and the outlook for riding tomorrow is not very good. If it rains in the morning, we will
probably take train to Washington, and spend a few hours there, returning home
sometimes Tuesday. If it should be clear the original program will be carried out.
My hand commences to ache a bit dearie so I will close this letter. I will not
however, cut off my communion with my sweetheart; this will go on until slumber carries
me into its depths and cuts off a consciousness for a brief spell, tho perhaps in my dreams
I’ll be very close Dearest. That I may be will be my last thought. Good night, Sweetest
Ruthy, I hope you are getting sweet full rest and that I will find you very well upon my
Kiss all the dear ones! Giving Florence two and with all my hearts love for you and
the babies, believe me
P.S. I haven’t marked the postals individually, you can distribute them as you see fit.
W. A. G.