Morganton, N.C.
June 9th, 1877   
Saturday Night  

Dear Capt.,

This mornings mail brought me the white winged messenger, but since it's perusal a flood of worrying thoughts have been at play in my mind (a new epoch in my life). How often must I assure you that your conversations have been of pleasure and beautiful to me?

I've not yet made the sacrifice (destroying your letters). I can't imagine why you wish it, for even if you would marry, the most jealous woman alive could find no breech of trust in your letters to me. No breathing except that of friendship, and you must not feel that I ever took it in any other way. I knew your intention was to have a lady friend and pass off a dull idle hour in pleasant friendly chats, knowing this was the only feeling and motive I've received and returned them in like manner.

I heard you were engaged and out of the purity of my heart spoke of it to you. I value your friendship and no better proof could I give you than tell you I've left my sick mother who I've been nursing constantly for the past six weeks, yearning, hoping, praying that the pale grieving light so dear to me might linger to brighten my life and home for a few more years. Head, hands and heart have been kept constantly employed administering to the want of she who I love most and best. This is why your letter was unanswered.

Now Capt. banish all these erroneous ideas from your mind and always remember what I so often told you that married or single, I'm your friend and well wisher. I do want you to get the right sort of woman for it will make you a happier man. I don't believe marriage is the "chief end of men" and women. It's like Jeremiah's figs "the good one is very good indeed, the bad too bad to give to pigs."

I'm a matter of fact woman and try to be truthful in all things, now I tell you that I don't think you value your own worth enough and that your letters are interesting to me. Col. Tate has been quite sick. Was confined to bed for a fortnight, is up now but looks pale and badly.

Excuse this hurried scratch.

Go to LETTER 19