Morganton, N.C.   
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 some court.

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.

Go to LETTER 21