Feb. 1st, 1876
Wonder if you have any idea how often I've thought of you during the past fortnight
and wished you could have been one of the pleasant participants that enjoyed the
great Tragedian. I've just returned. My party (Col. Tate, Willie and Johnnie)
came back on the next train, left me under the care of Cousin Zeb and a charming
visit I assure you it proved.
I hardly know how to express my admiration for Booth. He has I know not what of
greatness in his looks and high fate that almost awed me, and as I listened to him
the happy hours flew by me unperceived so was my soul fixed to the soft enchantment,
every thought in silence being in wondering expectation. His eloquence could charm
and burn, startle, soothe and win by turns. He is the only speaker or actor
that ever held my ear in blissful slavery. His mind seemed so full of intellectual
riches and strength of brain united with strength of lungs that every word seemed
oracles that pierced my bosom. "His words had such a melting flow and spoke of
truth so sweetly well, they dropped like heaven's sweetest snow and all was brightness
when they fell." In Hamlet's soliloquy you could have heard the beating of your
pulse when he spoke.
Gov. Vance was in prison with him (immediately after the war
in the old Capitol so Booth called up to see him. Oh, but he is elegant looking.
Nature cast his die then broke the mould. Col. Tate tells me he was as well supported
as in New York. He never plays in Washington City, nor on Friday nights. I've done
little else since I got home but think and act Ophelia. "This pleasure is in my
memory locked and Booth has the key" for I'm determined to see him one
Col. Tate and Willie told me of seeing you in Raleigh and
Col T. astonished me not a little by telling me of your contemplated (must I say
good fortune or ill luck?) At any rate he assured me that you had invited him to
your wedding, that you had given your hand and heart to a girl from "Old
Dominion." I think you might have told me. I've much, very much to tell
you and Oh! Capt., I do hope that you may be very happy in your new relation. I know
that your life will be changed (every man's is) and if she is a true woman it will be
for the better. I've no idea however of delivering you an essay on this all important
subject, just feel pretty assured that you have a well wisher, married or not, in this
The ground is covered with snow and sleet and this is the
only cold weather (except a few days when we filled our ice house) that we have
had this winter. There has been ten thousand pounds of pork lost in our county.
We never lost a pound.
Johnnie is building a cheap hotel or eating house at the
termination of the R.R. (Malones, four miles from "Old Fort") He has
employed a Yank (a first rate man I think has been South for years) to keep it
for him. "St. Bernard" tis in a most beautiful spot, just under the
shadow of the mountain and delightfully cool. I'll take you up if you come to
see us next Summer. "Madam Rumor" reports Mattie Moore as engaged.
She is in Statesville keeping house for a batchelor uncle so I cannot vouch
for the validity of my statement.
Cora and her Capt. Are well. I was so anxious to have
her go to C[harlotte] with us, but she has promised to live for one man and
he did not want her to go, so I think she did right to be a "keeper at
home." The young folks of our village are thinking and talking of
a "Leap Year Party." I told them I'd make with my own hands a
handsome ornamented cake, but could not make love to any man or act his part.
I'll send this donation with numberless good wishes for a perfect success.
Have the fair ones of your town been taking advantage of the season?
Willie is thinking of going to New Orleans next month.
I almost envy him this exquisite pleasure trip.
Not a word of news in town and I don't go to sewing societys
so can't give you the village gossip.
Bless my soul I'd no thought of sending you a ten pager when
I began. How often do I forget that "brevity is the soul of wit". Pardon
my infirmity. Yours, L.T.P.
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