I've stolen away from the family to the parlor and am sitting in the place you and I sat Sept. 16th. Oh, how I wish you were here.
Oct. 28th, 1877
The seal of our union came yesterday. When I look at it a flood of thoughts come o'er me that filled my eyes with tears. I thought of all I wished and had promised, of all you needed and expected in my love. Then I sat lost in thought forgetting even your dear greeting for the time. I know that I do love you and I feel that in the fountain of my heart a seal is set to keep my feelings pure and true, yet in all this genuine honesty of purpose I don't think my faults ever stood out in such bold relief to haunt and fret me. I do earnestly pray that your heart may ever safely trust in me, and that the faintest glimmer of regret in your choice of a wife may never darken your heart.
How I hunger for my dear, dear *Mother's council and blessing today. See Jane Saphronia Pearson Tate 1807-1877 and others. I was looking over some of her things the other evening and found an old letter from my Father written in New York at the "Astor House" on their 25th anniversary. I've no greater desire than that you may truthfully feel to me after the long lapse of years as he did to her, but Alas! Alas! I'm not "that perfect woman nobly planned," and this afternoon a warfare of doubts and fears are raging in my heart. No doubt as to who owns my heart. I'm sure of that, and for that very reason (because I love you so truly). I fear and lament my frailties. Oh! that every good intention (and my heart is full towards you) may blossom into deeds. It will be the bloom or blight of your life, and it will rest with you and I as to which it will be. Solomon tells us that a contentious wife will weary the soul. I've seen so much discord and strife in married life that I shudder when I think of it, and yet all my hopes and happiness for the future is in and with you.
Col. Tate had been from home for several days and I'd been staying with Sissie. He walked in the nursery yesterday evening and handed me my mail (some two or three letters together with your package). I went in Sissie's room to be alone in the excitement of opening the grapes was left uninterrupted. At the tea-table Cousin Sam wanted to know what [was in] my package. I told him a photograph from a friend in Bal[timore] (I had received one.) No, no, the one from "Mullns" [?], but I was too much engaged enjoying your delicious feast of grapes to heed him. After tea however, he and Willie began talking of you and I told them of the fetter between us. If I could see you I'd tell you why. I did it better than I can write, but I wanted some little matters fixed that I couldn't do, so I pondered it over and over and selected the two I loved best knowing it would be safe in their keeping even from the rest of my family. I don't want you to think that I don't live pleasantly with all of them for we do, but some have sweet hearts and others are married to women who talk and I have an aversion to having our relationship talked over from house to house. I never kept anything from my Mother. Now I feel like keeping my own counsel. I thought it best for your sisters to know it as I expected to be thrown with them, and as I told you before, to avoid any anxiety of mind. So you want to know when I'll go home with you. Whenever you want me! Now am I not a most willing lady love? Yes, we could talk of this better than we could write. I'll go as I told you when you want me, in the Spring or next Autumn. I'll wait till I see your dear face and tell you all about it. What a long, long time it seems since the 16th of Sep.
Although I got the ring at Col. T's it was kept in it's hiding place till I came home and here in the room that you told me of your love with no eye but His who knows my heart and feelings for my lover I put it on the hand that I'd given him with my heart and life long devotion. Oh! I can't but think that our union will bring a harvest of happiness.
I'm so glad you gained the suit in Bladen [County]. Yes indeed they are at a loss for an excuse, but what won't people do in these degenerate days? Was it my letter having to be answered that kept you from hearing Rose and Harry Watkins? Is it Miss Jennie G's. sweetheart that's on his way to be married? What in the world do young men in Cumberland [County] mean running off with girls? Why if I was a man I would not have a girl for a wife that would run off with me.
The grapes came in good order and we did enjoy them so much. I thought mine was the best. Ha!, ha. What variety are they? Clande was overjoyed and was as generous as you could wish. She insists on writing you a letter all by herself, so look out.
Johnnie enjoyed the state fair very much. He and some eastern marshall escorted Gen'l Hampton around and he, John, was invited to a select party given by Gov. Zeb at the Yarborough. John tells me that Gen'l H. spoke beautifully on N.C. soldiers and the quota they paid to the late war. I'm glad your company won the flag.
The ring is a little too large, but never mind I'll not send it back. It will do very well.
I don't know yet when I'll go to C[harlotte]. Will let you know
what I conclude to do. Write me whenever you find time I'm always glad to
see your loving hand mark dear, dear, Capt. Yours Only, L.P.
*The former Jane Sophronia Tate (June 27, 1807 - July 24, 1877)
was married March 18, 1834 to Robert Caldwell Pearson (Dec 9, 1807 - Nov. 18, 1867)
Source: Burke County North Carolina Heritage Book
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