October 8th, 1877
My Dear Captain,
I felt fully compensated for my two weeks waiting when
your familiar hand mark was received. I don't put confidence in mails but thought
the one in Cumberland could do to depend on and wrote expecting you to receive it
before leaving for Chapel Hill and I attributed your silence to engagements at
Mr. Anderson (assisted by Mr. Wilson from So. Ca.) has
just closed a most interesting meeting, great subject seemed to be felt by every
one and seven were added to the church. Mr. W. is a most earnest, eloquent and
practical preacher as well as a very entertaining companion, was a gallant soldier
in the late war and (like you) gave a limb to "the land we love." His
parents were missionarys and he was born in India. I enjoyed having him converse,
but I believe our good pastor had sown the seeds that he was permitted to enjoy
gathering. I don't think I ever derived more comfort than from his sermon on the
23rd Psalm (my mother's favorite). The kindness of his picture of the
aged saint passing through the valley called up memory of the loved one I'd seen
go through leaning her whole weight on "This rod and staff",
exemplifying the great power of religion. St. Paul tells us that "according
to our suffering here, will our reigning be hereafter. Oh! what a
rich golden harvest my mother is now enjoying in "that house not made with
hands." Do you know that I believe I love you more now than I could
have ever done before. Now there's no division of my heart. No boundarys here,
but my chief aim and object in life is to make you happy. I wish I could
see and talk with you this morning, but must hush my longing and wait till it's
convenient for you to give me this pleasure.
So glad am I that you have told your sisters of our
relationship. Assure them you took no love from them for me but gave me well.
I'll think and say the hidden treasure that no other woman could ever get, ha!
ha! ha! I've the very kindest feelings for them and (if they are like you)
don't fear but that I'll love them as sisters. I appreciate the effort it
cost you to unburden your mind to your sisters, but I could not but think
it was best to let them know right off, thus saving them any anxiety they
might feel regarding the future. I'd feel a blight on my new life if I'd be
a barrier between you and your duty as a brother. I think I've acted as my
mother would have advised, and she always did what was just and right.
The mountain party have not returned. Have had heavy
rains till the last three days, but since then these grand old
monuments of nature look beautiful. If their enjoyment is rated according
to the stay it's proved a success. We are having delightful weather just now.
The woods are clothed in their garment of many colors and our sunsets beggar
description from my rustic pun. E're one flowery season fades and dies a kind
father designs the glowing wonders of the next and are for sinful ungrateful
man. Last week the county lost one of its very best and most useful citizens.
Mr. Hamp Erwin (an uncle of Cora's husband) associate of my mothers. Was in
town only last week attending our meeting, sat at the communion table last
Sabbath, was struck with paralyses at dinner the following Thursday and died
in two hours. He was a genial, hospitable, Christian and I feel assured has
entered into everlasting rest.
Glad am I that your courts will all be over before
the heavy weather. You know I've often laughed and told you that you were a
novice to comfort. Let me beg you to regard your health.
more won't you please? I was at Cousin Sam's last night and delivered your
message to Clande. You would have been amused to see how quickly she imbibed
it's full meaning. She insisted on seeing that letter (how like her sex) "
See Capin's 'etter Lala." I appeased her curiosity with a scrap from Col.
T's desk. She insists (why, I know not.) that Mande is to have a doll carriage
"Christmas" and the "Capin" is coming to see her. If she
makes as rapid progress in her admirations for the gents she will be in every
way fitted for a star among the girls at "St. Bernard."
About the ring. I hardly know what to advise. Guess
you had better send it in a registered letter. I frequently receive them
from Stewart and Macy and besides our P[ost M[aster] is a young verdant
youth that hasn't mind enough to imbibe after seeing. Sew it on the
letter to prevent it's slipping about and let me know when to be on the
lookout. I only suggest this. Do just what you think is best. I
won't admit I'm superstitious (if Ben Johnston was) yet if anything happened
to it I'd be inexpressibly unhappy.
You are right thinking it best to avoid controversy. Any
reflection on the men who did fight for their country, and against my
church always brings up the old Adam in me. They are about the only things I
won't stand. The breathing of disrespect on either is always a
test of my temper. I've been no little amused at the display of trash in the
new store just opposite our house, kept by a Yankee. He has a figure (like you
see in every shop North) a new thing in our mountain village, and every poor
country man, woman and child stop in wonder, lost in admiration at "the
things these Yankees can do." But worse than all they are pocketing every
dime and bushels of corn from the poor black and white of our impoverished
county. Most of the strangers have left and our town begins to look like
"the deserted village."
I'd almost forgotten to tell you that I heard Mr.
(Col. to hear his version) Sinclair had gone with his wife and mother in
car over to the Methodist Church. Will the doctrine of declaration
in the Christian life be more palatable food than he could find with us.
I for one will not mourn after the loss.
Willie is hard at work curing his tabacco. I do trust
it will turn out as he expects.
Cam and John are with the mountain party.
Col. T[ate], Sissie and her troop of "olive
plants" are well and would have some kind message if they knew of my
writing you. I told them what you thought of their little ones and Col. T.
remarked no man living was more welcomed to his house at any and all times. Believe
in the --- of Laura Pearson.
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