Morganton, N.C.
March 22, 1876 

Dear Capt.,

Thoughtfully I wish I knew exactly how you'd like to have me launch out and you might stake well almost anything that I'd conform to your wishes.

You must not forget I'm a kind of "off hand" creature (I won't say eccentric, for in my opinion tis only a cover for rudeness). My good brother Sam often admonishes me of this fault to soften his predictions. I'll assure him the inner current is all right, no matter how it may seem.

But in the meantime what will the Old Dominion Lassie say to my confectionery addresses?

Speaking of this damsel, I was thinking of you not long since and told Sissie (Mrs. Tate) I believed I'd embroider a pr. of slippers. (How I have wondered what became of those I sent you three years ago) however, let them slip and lets begin on a new footing. But just then I thought you had a "somebody" to attend to your sole, and though I won't admit to being a slippery character, yet I abandoned the intention. Give you liberty to enjoy a laugh (I'm out of hearing you know) at my would be puns. Will laughingly tells me when I indulge too duly it's an …talent of wit. Tis a vein that is hard for me to resist. I know this without Dr. Barker's confirmation. Tis a trait that has given me pain because by it I'm not always fully understood, pleasure because tis a strong staff when oppressed with life's trials.

Glad, very glad was I at the pleasant surprise your letter of yesterday gave me and I know of no better way to reveal my appreciation than sending you a hasty reply.

I'm entirely cut off from the outer world for the earth is still mantled in her frozen sheet rendering it unpleasant as well as dangerous for foot passengers. I ensconced myself in a corner around a good big fire to be refreshed in a talk with the Capt.

First let me assure you I'd be ever so glad to see you whenever you come, and do all in my power to render your visit pleasant.

'Tis mine was the club that rose, flourished, and went out. The burden of honor was greater than I could bear so I threw the mantle of fame on my friend, Capt. Ervin and his good wife, knowing the precarious health of my mother would prevent my regular attendance. You see I give my motive for declining honors, ha, ha. However, the "Sans Sorei" (?) proved a pruning hook to folly and fed the mind with solid pleasant food till the Lentil Season arrived (most of our members are "church people"). I see no reason for starving the mind if they do the body, yet their Rector classed it in the catalogue of amusement so the chosen elect part of the body observed their usual politeness and adjourned to meet …

Newspaper reading is another weakness of mine, garnering all the chaff as well as wheat from every sheet I find. I think this fondness was enhanced by having invalids to entertain and divert, but I've washed my hands of the Wilmington Post, come what may.

Mr. Canady is one of the com[issioners] of the WRR and to be duly estimated by these western people he generously and gratuitously keeps them weekly posted.

It must be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom they come." This declaration is from the lips of he who will not have "one job or title pass away till all be fulfilled" and whose word is the same "yesterday, today and forever."

Speaking of Gov. Vance, tis astonishing how he holds captive the hearts as well as votes of these western people. I was never more forcible struck with it than when last at "Old Fort" one afternoon a party of us went up to see the tunnels. It blew up cold and we went in a cabin to warm. Entering into conversation I was awestruck with the quickness of a ten year old boy and ventured to tell the old man (his grandfather) he ought to have the boy at school. "That's just what Zeb Vance tells me and the old man every time I see him. Oh Lord, if I just knowed he would ever larn to talk like Zeb, I'd bind out myself and all I had for life to git him larned. He is the smartest man in the U.S. and then he is honest too with all his larning." I don't know that I'd go quite as far as the old man, but knowing his blood I'll bet on my cousin Zeb.

What a patient man you are to spend time in listening to my chips and splinters. You can't but admit that I've met you halfway and that is all that is required of myself.

Content yourself knowing I appreciate every line of your letters and my most pleasant task is in answering.

No we must not flatter, genuine stuff needs not to be flattered, but will stand any test.

No danger of my working too hard. I love comfort to well.

No town news, the Negroes are having a loud time at their church, to the annoyance of Cam who is "nigh to the synagogue." One and all of my family are well. Willie is still in Raleigh. Col. T. at "Old Fort."

I've been enjoying Mark Twain's "Gilded Age" for the past two days.

Wafting you pleasant wishes and happy dreams I bid you Goodnight.

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