Morganton, N.C.
Nov. 5th, 1877  

"The day is cold and dark and dreary", I've opened my desk and with a very sore finger (The Dr. fears a felon on the front finger of my right hand) and willing heart I've begun an answer to your greeting received on Saturday Eve. My thoughts fly so fast but my hand pains me so intensely that I must deny myself the pleasure. I was anxious to write this afternoon for I fear my hand will be too stiff to use in a few days. Dr. Buchannan comforts me by telling me to just hold my hands quietly for a few weeks and all will be well. (Dr. Moran is in Baltimore on a visit) Ah, me he little knows the effort and the pain if will cost me not to use my pen for weeks.

The ring is not too large so don't think of it any more.

I've been thinking of you all day wishing to have you here so that we might chat over things that I don't like to trust to paper. Yes, the tears were not burning tears of regret, but I do so fear that I'll not prove all you look for above all things. I want us to open with each other, for when trust is not reciprocal the love that trusted withereth. Oh! that bitterness may ever be a stranger to our tongue and sympathy a dweller in our hearts.

I've no desire to shake off the vow of life long devotion to the only man I ever loved, yet I tremble when I think of the fearful responsibility that vow contains. I've records (in mind and heart) of so many mistaken marriages, seen affection blighted by repulse or chilled by shallow courtesy. The unaided struggle, the unconsidered grief, unesteemed self sacrifice all accounted as nothing. Yes, I've seen all this. I've seen and hated it in myself. Now do you wonder at my weakness in self? I should think the hardest thing in life (for either man or woman would be to discharge your whole duty to either God or man after a disappointment in marriage. Love is the life of marriage and who can tread the hard, weary path that duty so often calls for without the light or hope of love? I've one safe guard when I think of all these snares, I know I love you for your own dear self.

Never mind, don't worry about the ring. It's not too large. Clande and her papa wrote you some days ago. She would have a loving message if she knew of my writing her "Capin." I want to see you oh! you don't know how badly, but don't neglect any duty to come. I'd not enjoy your visit, if you can't come with perfect convenience I can wait till when I go home with you. You and I understand each other and what care we for what others think and do. I appreciate the times and know you are alone in the office and that it's not always convenient to come so far but do just as you think best. I assure you it cost me an effort to say this but I thought I'd leave it open for you to do just as you thought best. Am I not a most practical lady love? Don't for a moment think I don't want to see you. If that was all, I say come to gladden my heart this afternoon, but I've thought of other things, then it won't be long till Spring.

Mrs. Avery was talking of you a few days ago and began to tease me about you. I made a joke of the very idea and told her I'd been looking for that for years. The only man I ever did waste time over without good results, but I'd give up all hope of any thing from you, ha!, ha! Mrs. Bunn has been and still continues very desperately ill.

I'd another letter from Mrs. Vance wanting me to come down and see her. Cousin Zeb is expected up this evening but my hand will prevent my returning with him.

You are right it's a great pleasure to receive or write you so try and send me a good long greeting. It will do more towards comfort for the loss of the use of my finger than anything I know of. I don't yet know when Col. T. will get off to Texas. Sissie begs that you come up. I'll write whenever I can use my hand.

Yours, L.T.P.

Go to LETTER 25