Need I assure the dear Capt. of feeling fully repaid when I seek so
easily an opportunity to re-enjoy our conversation. These pleasant
little chit-chats are indeed rays of sunlight in a shady nook, for
my dear Mother's ill health keeps me a willing prisoner at home.
Often do I wonder if you have any idea how keenly I relish these
embalmed thoughts. I've seen so much sorrow in the past fortnight
that I don't know but that it would be more judicious to wait till
the shadow passes o'er my spirits before writing you.
Dec. 7 th,1876
Capt. A[very's] death rushes over me with renewed pity every time
memory recalls him. Our intercourse had always been so pleasant;
he talked freely to me and I felt a peculiar interest in him. He
had faults, "grievous faults and grievously has he answered
for them", yet he had numberless virtues that I'll
in friendly memory. He has been bitterly cursed by
many, cursed and even neglected by she who promised to
comfort him through evil as well as good report, but her gift
of heart (for no woman who loved a man could or would act so) proved but a shadow of her trust. Far am I from excusing him, yet his faults never transformed her faults to virtues, nor erased her debt as wife and mother.
Did she take the proper course to reclaim him? The cheering rays of the sun is far more needful to the plant than the sharp pruning knife. I don't say that she could have reformed him, but she never put forth an effort, but left him alone after he touched the poisonous cup the first time. It was so unlike a true woman. Then she knew all this before her marriage, but unfortunately his coffers were empty and hers full, so the world will smile with approval and call her a woman of character, but it's all over now. He is past the reach of prayer or encouragement. Oh! Death thou stern and silent usher, thou law giver that never alterith, fixing the consummating seal whereby the deeds of life become established. I feel so thankful now for every kindly word and act shown him. What a pleasure it would be to feel the pang was swallowed up in victory and that his earthly afflictions worked out an eternal weight of glory. I've been with his afflicted sisters. They seem almost heart broken that he died away from them. He had gone down to Raleigh, seemed to have a yearning desire on Wednesday to see his child so went over to Maj. Smith's that afternoon and died the following Friday morning.
I still hope Tilden will be our Pres. I wish the Southern people would humble themselves before God and cry mightily to him for help in this our dark hour of need. Too many of us think God has nothing to do with national affairs, man can manage that alone, feeble tenants as they are, debased by slavery or corrupt by power. Col. Tate thinks Tilden will be inaugurated. Would not be surprised at a little trash in the "National Asylum for the Helpless." Don't get depressed it will all work out for the best and for good of the Southern people if they are only brave enough to bide their time. Just see how Gen'l Hampton acts under it all. I do feel for poor S.C. and Louisiana. Surely they are the people who have seen affliction and yet they still hope for a better time. I can't help but recall a few lines (I forget whose pen) only remember it has often made me hope stronger when I felt in the low ground of sorrow. I only hope it may gild a cloud for you. We lack in faith, we sink down broken hearted when e'er the shadow of a cloud flits by, We think the day time of our life departed if God but lays his hand upon our sky. Have just finished a little story I'd like to have you enjoy. "The City of Norcross" without imitating the language or quaint style of Bunyan, he permits his fancy to intrude into his domains or rather as it were to pass a boundary gate and wander over ground which this matchless dreamer only glanced at.
We have been having bitter cold weather for the past ten days. Almost every one has filled their ice houses. Some of the ice was four inches in thickness.
Nothing new in our village. I heard a few days ago that the Rev. Mr. Thompson of your town was to move to our hamlet and be our nearest neighbor.
I'm ever so anxious to see my cousin Zeb inaugurated but fear I can't leave home just then. My dear mother grows more feeble every day and requires constant attention. She suffers so from nervousness. She has always been an active working woman and tis a hard trial to be set aside, yet she feels there is a "need be" and it is the Master's good pleasure. Let him do what seemeth good. "I often look at my mother as a monument of unselfish devotion, now in the decline of life waiting for the sunset safe under the shadow of the cross and thank the Giver for this precious boon.
Rest assured I'll be ever so glad to see you whenever you can come. However, tis useless to repeat what you must know from my oft repeated invitations to have you visit us. I've sometimes found I passed the limits of my ideas of decorum. Don't you think that of me. I'd enjoy having you Xmas, but do just as you think best; just let me know before you start from home. I'm real glad you sent that foolish page (as you call it) What would you think if I told you I enjoyed that part more than any of the letter ha! ha! I guess I hear you say like every other woman was pleased at the compliment I paid her. Well, I won't deny it for I like to have you praise me. You know we made an agreement the first of the year not to flatter and I really think we have been true to our word. What say you?
Frank Tate wrote me quite an amusing note a few days ago. I'd told him I was writing to "Santy Claus" for Xmas gifts and he was writing out the list of toys he most desired requesting me to please enclose it in my letter. I never fret over my poverty and long for a full purse too just before this festive season when I yearn to make hungry hearts glad, for I feel as if every body should be happy Xmas. Yours L.T.P.
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