Morganton, N.C.
Nov. 2nd, 1876  

After an absence of more than a month I find myself in "the dearest spot of earth to me" and one of my first and most pleasant dutys is a talk at the dear Capt.

I've done little since my return except rehearse the Centennial and indeed the indicative mood present tense, of the verb to go, should now be rendered; I go to Phil; You go to Phil; He goes to Phil; We go to Phil; They all go to Phil;

The 70-foot-high Corliss Steam Engine powered
the Centennial Exposition's entire Machinery Hall
You have enjoyed this wonder so tis needless to comment and indeed it beggars description being a world within itself. I kept perfectly well during my stay, free from care with bright sky above enhances my pleasure to the fullest extent. I'd go all day and feel strong enough for any festivity the "Sable Goddess" might offer. Machinery Hall which I supposed would be the least interesting and most incomprehensible place to me, has proved just the reverse; I'd remain there for hours fascinated by watching the manufacture of some article; seeing it grow into shape, feeling a pleasant satisfaction in buying a ribbon that was woven especially for me. Then too, lemon drops that have been evolved before your eyes taste twice as good as any other.

It is one of the grandest sights of the Exposition to see the Corliss Engine started, I felt like an atom mid-immensity; could but think of that passage of scripture regarding man. "Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels."

In wandering through the art gal[l]ery I felt o'er comed with wander and oppressed with joy as I gazed on the life speaking canvass my spirit (as in a dream) seemed all bound up. The wondrous art infused with power of life in the picture of "Rispah protecting the bodies of her sons" portraying each pulse of passion, sorrow, hatred, fear, and strife, was wonderful. "The death of Abel" I thought beautiful, the heavenly radiance on the brow and the languid repose of the first soul that ever tasted death lingers o're me like some beautiful dream. I'd enjoy talking of numberless paintings and beautiful statuarys although I'd fully determined not to beg in Cen[tennial].

I spent a week sightseeing at this Yankee display then went over to New York where I enjoyed the most charming visit of my life. In my scale of appreciation Phil is "weighed in the balance and found wanting" when compared with New York. Everything is southern in flavor in New York and so full of Yankees in the Quaker City. Why Capt., no city south would dare make the wild joyous demonstrations that New York did when the returns were received from Indianna and West Va. I saw one picture of Tilden in Phil when in New York. I was under his shadow all the time. In New York tis cosmopolitan.

"In conclusion" let me tell you of how smart I was, vanity! vanity! I hear you say. Well now don't you think it was smart in a mountain rustic like your humble servant to come home alone? (that circuitous rout via Charlotte and Wil[mington]). Johnny and Cam went on with me, but returned satisfied with ten days inspection.

Willie offered to come for me but after consideration I concluded not to open his pocket unnecessarily and ventured out alone, never wrote the home folks one line knowing they would be anxious. Now Yankee girls think nothing of traveling alone, yet I freely admit I can't admire it.

When I got on the boat I met Miss Kenan (sister of Col. Kenan) a friend of Johnnie's and a perfect lady. I never enjoyed anything more than the beautiful starlight night spent on the 'George Leary' after a splendid supper we (Miss Kenan and I) sat on deck till bedtime. The bay was as calm and the night as clear as the pure Spirit who made it. When we passed Fortras Monroe I could but think of the brave heart who suffered so long within those prison walls and my heart rose to ask a blessing on that Christian hero.

Miss Kenan left me at Wilson and the next day I spent on the Carolina Central. Never before did I ever travel through as flat and desolate country; did not see anything to please my eye except a factory at Rockingham [Richmond Co.] and a flock of wild geese near Lilesville [Anson Co.]. I was amused at the names of the stations. "Shoe Heel", [Maxton, Scotland Co.] down at the heel. Po[l]kesville [Anson Co.] Old Hundred [Richmond Co.]. I assure you it was healing balm to a weary traveler to hear Charlotte [Mecklenburg Co.] called out. I found my dear friends and kin folks (Vances) glad to see me and enjoyed the next day listening to our next Gov. tell jokes.

Found "Old Mother" as well as I expected. She was so overjoyed to see me that we both had a cry over it. Oh! She is distressingly feeble. Her Dr. insists she suffers no pain. She enjoys hearing me tell of New York and Phil wonders.

I've been hard at work all day fixing things "ship shape" for Friday. Cousin Zeb is to speak here and I want to have him stay with us, so had to do a little extra work.

How did Synod come off? Mr. Anderson was North at the time so could not attend. What about our trip to the Roan? I've promised to go to Raleigh to see Cousin Zeb's inauguration.

What a long letter I'm about sending you, and yet I've not half finished my talk. Our village is distressingly dull just now, however I'm kept so close at home that I don't feel it much.

John Roberson was here on yesterday to take the "nest egg" the Cen[tennial] left. Too bad! too bad! When our county is so poor to sell 2500 tickets for a circus.

Write me when you can't find anything to do. Yours L.P.

Go to LETTER 13