Morganton, N.C.
Jan. 28th, 1877  

As usual I'm observing the golden rule towards my dear Captain. Sometimes I think I will wait just as long as you before answering, but a keen desire for a talk overcomes me and my resolutions are like "That early cloud and morning dew." Now is not that a confession for a modest young lady? I almost blush at the avowal.

Everybody has gone to church except my sick mother and myself. She is sitting by me culling fresh strength from "The Book of Life", as I wander off to Fay[etteville].

This is about the first day of sunshine since the dawn of '77. I imbibed a heavy cold Xmas and have been a victim to neuralgia ever since, however I feel quite myself this morning.

The best blessing is a perfectly healthy mind and body. I'm in full possession of the former, and far as the latter goes, it's sound. ha, ha! but I fear I'm not fully grateful for the gift. Was truly sorry to hear of your misfortune in Raleigh. From your very long silence I feared I'd fallen from your catalogue of friends which would be a far greater calamity.

Trust this bitter weather is a blessing in disguise. I laughingly told a (Republican) friend of mine we needed a heavy freeze to congeal the impurity of the past twelve years.

Like you I passed a quiet Christmas, but was more fortunate in receiving some pretty as well as useful love-tokens, among them a handsome writing desk (from Edinburg, …) a gift from Sister and just the thing I most needed and wanted.

A heavy fall of snow cut us off from the outside world, yet we had a pleasant time around our own hearth-stone. After all that's the sweetest and most lasting pleasure. Tis fortunate when the person can fully discharge their duty both in society and at home, but in these days (of free labor) the hands find so much to do that I think it's best to sweep your own door and neglect the world. I think we owe society a debt and believe it makes us better to mingle a little in the world, if we don't let it get too strong a hold on us. We are more lenient toward the faults, and more appreciative of the virtues of our fellow man. Oh! if we could only use it and not abuse it. The beautiful garden given by our kindest and best of friends would bear all manner of pleasures for every want.

I think like you that widowers are better than widows. St. Paul tells us to honor the kinds he describes and I do, but those … are "few and far between." Did you ever read those articles that appeared in the N.C.P. about a year ago praying for direction in the momentous step? Written by the Mrs. Spencer and "Father Paxton" a perfect Simeon in his walk and conversation. (has charge of a church in Marion)

I believe in predestination in every thing. "Our wills are ours We know not how. Our wills are ours to make them shine." God will do his part if we do ours. The man who knew more than any other tells us a good wife is from the Lord, yet he is mute as regards husbands, I think the cause of so many persons happiness being wrecked. The motive that prompted the alliance was not pure and disinterested. It's out of fashion to marry for love, or rather this generation have an amendment (that sounds better). They can't and won't love without full coffers. "Cursed be the social lies that wasp us from the living truth." I think too many marry without being mated, and for other motives than love, for after all that's the key-note in life. We hope all things endure all things if we truly love, and "perfect love will cast out all fear."

The commissioners has sent out their report that I suppose you have seen by now. I know and think all or our best people think likewise, that Col. Tate and Willie have done more than their duty on this R.R. Neither of them are men to fuss around or flatter up commissioners no matter what they say or do. I'd tell you much more but I'm too selfish as it would take too much time. I'll have to wait till I see you. Who and what is this Mr. Troy? I was no little amused at the court some of our people paid the committee. Col. Tate and Will insisted they had no ill gotten gains, nor any fatted calf to kill for the strangers who had come to spy their duds. I was surprised at my cousin Zeb's lending his countenance to that Negro convention (particularly after his conduct towards them during the campaign) I doubt not but that he thought the end would be for good. A clear head, cool judgment, and manly courage are always of vast importance in the conduct of human affairs, but they were never of such great importance as now. I think it's a safe maxim when you don't know what to do, to do nothing. But well meaning men generally feel bound to do something merely to show their good intentions and they usually do just the thing they had better left undone. I'm tired wondering who is to be President. "I can but trust that future good will be the final goal of ill". Fighting, (unless by ballot) I hope won't be dreamed of, talked of, or thought of. I think if the House and Senate want a fight let them enjoy it to themselves in the rotunda. I've had enough war with and for Yanks.

I don't feel ashamed to talk so for I've got no country, and consequently no need to be so poetically brave.

General Hampton wants to redeem poor broken bleeding S.C and when you look at the pure patriotic love (nor pride or vain glory) of state that prompted his letter to Hayse (then he wrote Tilden the same thing) how can we condemn our grand Southern hero. Dear me, what an expression I'm about sending you! I will forget and talk too long.

Look out for a notice of a New Year party at Henry's (St. Bernard") in the last Blade. I wouldn't leave my sick mother to share the enjoyment, but was glad to hear it passed off all "O.K." as I'd a hand in fixing the "goodies." Yours Truly

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