Morganton, N.C.
April 7th, 1877  

To verify the old Irish superstition, your right ear must have been burning, for Col. Tate and I (for the past two hours) have been saying all manner of pleasant things about you. (Then could we say anything else, ha! ha! He has gone home and I tucked "Old Mother" (a'la little Frank Tate) snugly in bed, so now comes my most pleasant task, namely converse with my dear Capt.

I've a request to ask of you, and woman-like before asking I want you to promise me that it will be granted, then too I want to annex an amendment. Please don't think me impudent, but I'm drifting from what I so much want to say. Simply to beg you to throw off your depressing moods, that if indulged will be sure to work you harm. Stop doubting "only believe" that the Shepherd of Israel cannot heed our wrong. His own way must be the safest and best. Just trust another's word and in the end it will all be well. I've had a varied experience and at times (loss of property, death of loved ones, my home broken up) the thorn in the flesh would buffet me only causing me to think the Lord was a hard task-master, yet in answering my request he might have sent barrenness of soul and no hope of a home over there." I could tell you of my ups and downs if I could just see you face to face. I know the times are depressing. Money (that everlasting plague) scarce, men dishonest and untrue, women vain and fickle, yet this must be expected after a great revolution. Others have lived through it and been happy and what has been done, can be done. We must retrench our desires, work harder, spend less, if we don't find a way make one, and if we do that, God will do the rest. I've presumed quite far on my friendly feeling, now I beg you to accept it as it is given.

Yes, we had another R.R. meeting, but I sent you the "Blade" so you know the particulars. Col. Tate would not let his name come up for office. He thought he had been badly treated after twelve years of arduous labor so left them to their glory. I admit (to you) that I had a goodly amount of family pride in this R.R. and I think it was natural, my father procured the charter, paid the first and largest amount of money, was always President (except one or two years) till Col. Tate took it and after almost all the R.R. is built (the hardest part) it should go into other hands that lost neither time nor money, but just come in time to gather what other men have dug and planted, frets me. Our brilliant Legislature rendered Willie's office null and void so you see we are in the "low ground of sorrow", but I'm glad that both the men I love so devotedly have willing heads, hands and hearts and can dash away at most anything that you please. I've spoken truly to you, as poor Bill Arp would say, "tis graveyard chat."

Do you take our paper this year? I feared you did not so have sent you several.

Your letter was not received for a week after it was written. Wonder if it would not look better for me to wait a fortnight before answering.

We are having beautiful Spring weather and our garden is a perfect "well spring of joy" to my dear invalid mother.

Yes it was told me as an established fact that you had given your heart to one of Fayetteville's fair daughters who lived near the depot, has no one to consult in the matter, and has enough of this world's portion for two? I'll tell you her name if you don't know after this, and you must tell me her nature. I met her the summer she spent in Morganton, but only in a fashionable call. I hear her spoken of very, very kindly by those who did know her. Dr. Walton (her old sweetheart) was married a few months ago to a widow with one or two young olive plants out in Illinois. He moved out about two years ago to make his fortune. Found it very quickly ha! ha! "Alas, for the rarity of Christian charity under the sun." I want you to let me know for I don't want to write another congratulatory effusion and have it all a false alarm. I've often laughed over that. I see from my late papers that Tilden is going to lay in his claims to the Presidency and pull old Hayes in law.

Well, we must "content ourselves in discontent" and stand it as best we can.

Johnny has gone off for his … goods. Every cent our people can rake and scrape is sent to Yankeedom, and yet we admit they have the iron heel of oppression on our necks, and yet give them what they love most and best the almighty dollar. "Ah, consistency thou art a jewel", but few of us have any. One of the Yanks (Our new neighbors from Main[e]) told me he thought we would be the greatest people on the globe after we got well mixed with the class Yankee, our free warm hearts and the keen sharp economy of the Yank would perfect us. I laughingly told him you couldn't combine light and darkness, greed and liberality never went hand in hand. The old man seemed to take quite a fancy to me notwithstanding I could not agree with him.

Our mountaineers are giving it to the blue backs; almost every time they go out looking for distillers (illicit) someone one is hurt and news came this afternoon that one of "Uncle Sams" men had been killed. Of course the troops are wild with excitement and I doubt not but that these mountains will be raked and scraped for the poor wretch.

Mr. Thompson was laid to rest in the Methodist grave yard on yesterday (Thursday April 5th) at 3 O'clock P.M. I hear his widow intends making this her permanent home. Mr. T. has been confined to his bed ever since he came here. If he had left Fayetteville sooner he might have lived longer. I hear he was deeply attached to the people of your town and spoke of them often during his last illness, leaving loving messages for his congregation.

What gloomy prospects you picture for me when I start our on my mission of love and goodness. I don't know that I could stand the test if it's that hard, however I've a wonderfully brave heart (about all I do possess of any value) and could endure what ever comes up.

Just see I've sent you eight pages for four, but after all it's only half the value so I'll let it go. Wishing you pleasant dreams and slumbers light I bid you goodnight.

Go to LETTER 18