Thirteen days after his previous letter to Mary Francis Campbell, who is still away visiting relatives, we find James becoming restless and tired of being alone. Alice is another slave/servant belonging to James Harvey Campbell.
Wednesday night-Feb. 16th, 1859
My dearest wife,
And it is raining as usual tonight, and as I can see no possible chance of your being able to come over tomorrow, I think I cannot employ better than by complying with my promise to write to you by Friday’s mail. I arrived in town in good time yesterday evening, and escaped the rain entirely, which I did not expect when I left Mantua. I spent the evening yesterday at your Pa’s, where Vernon13 had some company invited in honor of his birthday. Mr. Tupman and lady were there, and cousin Sue, and Mr. Hull. All seemed to enjoy themselves and I left all the rest of the company there at a very late hour, viz 1 o’clock. We had a very nice supper, and I was as sociable as usual, and contributed greatly to the enjoyment of the company. I suppose you have seen Willie and heard his opinions of life in the West, etc. He seems to be looking quite well, as if he had enjoyed it. I was very sorry I was not at home when he arrived here, as I fear he faired but poorly at our house in our absence. But he seems disposed to make the best of everything, and with Fanny’s assistance, I suppose he managed as well as circumstances would admit. The darkies are as well as usual, but Alice has still the cough. She seems to be affected something like Florence, but I hope it will leave her before long.
It is rumored that Mat Taylor and Miss Lizzie Richardson are to be married very soon, but how true it is I can’t say. I hope it is true for the sake of them both, for it has been talked of long enough. Dr. Johnson met with a very melancholy death a few days ago, but it is not more than what might have been expected under the circumstances. As I understand he was picked up in the street with the delirium tremens14, and was taken to the poor house, where he died. He had a very large funeral, I understand. We need you very much at home, my dearest, and will continue to do so until you come, which will not be very long now, as the spring is almost here, and I hope it will stop raining at least when the winter is over. Home does not seem like home without you; and it is impossible for me to feel contented. I would not be much surprised if I contracted some bad habits in your absence if you do not hasten. If you do not come home Monday, you must be sure to write and inform me how Florence is, as I feel very uneasy about her, and should grieve to hear of her getting worse. Be sure of one thing. Don’t let the stage come over again without you, if you can help it, for I couldn’t forgive you hardly. Give my love to all, and don’t forget kiss the babies about a dozen times apiece for me. Your pa seems to think you are getting quite reconciled down there, and don’t care so much about getting home as you did, but I informed him that you seemed to be anxious as ever, but that you concluded to submit to circumstances. For I fear you will not be able to write, I enclose some postage stamps. I fear, dear Fannie, that you have already gotten tired of this uninterested letter, so I will conclude by subscribing myself
Your devoted and ever faithful husband
Wednesday evening - Dear-Fannie - Don’t you think you can some arrangement by which you can come over with Willie, as he expects to come over next week, I think. If you can, it will be better than coming alone. I forgot to mention it to him. If he has not gone to Essex, suppose you suggest it to him. But don’t wait for him if you get ready.