Laura Tate Pearson to Captain Neill W. Ray   Nov 1877
Contributed by Kathleen Haynes      Contact Myrtle Bridges   May 28, 2008

							Morganton, NC
							Nov. 10th, 1877
Tis a good thing for my dear Capt. That all his correspondents are not as punctual as I. Only 
last night was your missive received and I've found both time and a willing mind for a response 
in 48 hours. Glad am I to tell you of improvement in my finger, 'tis still quite tender, but no 
pain, thanks to Dr. Buchannan's treatment.

How I'd love to see and talk with you tonight around this bright cozy fire. My mind and heart is 
full of ideas that only interest you and I. Not one word did you answer me about coming up. Why 
was it dear Capt? Don't, please don't cherish for a moment the idea that I didn't want to see you, 
but as I told you, I know it would be noised abroad after another visit, and then (I told you my 
other reasons), still I left it all with you knowing that you knew what was best and would act 
accordingly. I've thought so much of you and the situation you are in just at this time as regards 
[your] beloved church. I wish I could see you and talk it over. Just be true to your own conscience, 
and then you can be false to none, that is if you ardently ask the help of the Searcher of hearts. 
I love my church (I think more than most persons) and would rejoice to see you bound in the closest 
cords, still I want it to be with perfect freedom of will, not one ripple to mar your spiritual joy, 
so I agree with you and think 'tis best to decline the office. What a glorious thought for poor weak 
mortals to know that God looks inwardly at the intentions and motives. I think you must have some Upas  
branches in that vineyard, however, there is nothing so true (in this world) that the damps of error 
have not wasped  it; and nothing so false that a sparkle of truth is not found.

Hope you will enjoy your Fair and hear an address from my friend Cousin Zeb. Mrs. Bunn left for Charlotte 
a few mornings ago. I hear the Dr. fears she will be a confirmed invalid.

Our quiet little village is invaded by the Negro Methodist Conference. They have spent their whole 
years labor to dress and feast (?) on, almost every family are without servants. Mr. Anderson has 
offered them our church for their Bishop on next Sunday. I hardly know what I think of this step. 
They laugh and tell me if it had been any other man than Mr. A., I would have not only had an opinion, 
but expressed it. I expect there is truth in what they say. I feel quite confident he has given it 
thought and acted as he thought God would approve.

We have had a perfect freshet in the way of marrying, for the last fortnight five or six mariners 
have launched out on the sea of matrimony. I trust none have made ship-wreck of their happiness. Among 
the happy number was a man from Mass. who has been here for a year past (passing for an entomologist). 
I've never met him, but hear he tells of golden wonders in his Yankee home. He has taken his bride on 
for inspection to return to these "low grounds of sorrow" however, in a few weeks. Well, if he has never 
stolen anything of more value from the South than his wife we have nothing to lament. She is a sister of 
the woman who married a Yankee Maj. a few months after the War closed. He, poor man, shot himself two 
years later.

Mother has often told me if I'd be happy in marriage I must confide, love, and be patient; be faithful, 
firm, and holy above every thing conquer self. Oh, Capt., When I do look inwardly at my many imperfections 
I've great cause for misgivings. When I think of this I try and gild it o'er with that strong, deep, pure, 
love I know I feel for you. More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. Tis a … for all 
and a panacea for all pain, and I have endeavored to beg an earnest blessing on our new life. I feel safe 
in your love and believe I'll be happy. All the doubts and fears are regarding the debt of love I owe you.

So Cousin Sam's letter made you doubtful for a moment ha! ha!  Claude has been quite sick, but is better 
tonight. I was so anxious for fear she would take diphtheria, dear as that child was before, she seems and 
feels nearer to me now. She talks so often of "my poor dear Capin", throws you a kiss and insists she loves 
you "a dollar and a half in specie". "Lala" loves you more than that, yes indeed I do. I won't consent to 
let you suffer what I did for four days with my hand, if you did offer. I've promised to appreciate it all 
the more.

I'd a funny note the other day from an old lady in town, a friend and companion of my (sainted) mother's long 
years ago. I'd written her a note with a memento on her 90th birthday and I do wish you could have seen her 
answer. It was indeed rich, rail and racy. She is an old maid and her comments on marriage are worthy of a 
safe record.

Friday morning
I overslept myself and missed sending your letter this morning. Is it not too bad? Tis a cloudy, dreary 
looking day and I pray we are to have more rain. I've wound up the music box to drive off gloom, and I am 
going to work as soon as I draft you another good bye and God's richest blessing. Love and pleasant 
remembrances to both your sisters.
Cousin Sam has talked of his Texas trip till I've given up all idea of his going. Every day some new obstacle 
comes up. John is at "Glen Alpine", a lovely spot some sixteen miles from here. He is building a hotel and hopes 
to open a sanitarium by next spring. The waters are said to be more than ordinary and the place is beautiful. 
I've several stereoscopic views, you can come up for your health when you get tired and worn out with bad clients. 
Good night, pleasant dreams. Send me a good long letter at no distant day. Yours only LTP.

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