Written by Mary Frances Bowis upon the death of her mother Martha A. Taylor Bowis, this letter is most likely written to James Harvey Campbell.
Does it relieve the weary brain to reread the letter which I have read untill its words are written in letters of fire as it were my on my soul? does it shorten the agonizing days to kiss the pictured face of my loved one with tearful eyes? must my heart be always thus tortured? Yes always there is no land of Beulah for me. Ah! that cool calm river, can be blamed if as I stand at my window and gaze with burning eyes as its stillness and beauty, for wishing that I might check the hot torrent that is coursing through my soul with its bitter waters, beneath its chilly depths? but I must live on if such death in life be called living until a pale hand shall lead me across that dark river over which there is no return And then to know that he also must suffer is what maddens me most-Oh why did I allow my love to get the better of my judgment and write him that passionate letter which must only enhance his suffering? It gave him but mournful pleasure and yet I love him, I love him. Foolish vain woman where is all our boasted pride? How often have you vowed within your self he shall never guess it, though it slay me. If I could but recall that letter but he will receive and read it poor heart, and God grant he may be prepared to accept its stern decree. Who will think of pitying me while I pity him? Is it not my burden to bear? It seems as if I must sink under its weight under its weight-have I crushed his heart? O; no I cannot, but I have sorely wounded it. Can no one comfort him but me? Heaven help me for passionately hoping there is not wishing that it were my blessed privilege; and something else have I to think of-the noble boy who has placed his future in my hands-can I make him happy? He thinks so and only last night asked me in whose keeping was the heart which he thought he possessed. I could not tell him-think of the love he has so freely lavished on one who now declares she loves him only as a brother while she gives unhesitatingly to another the pent up devotion of years. He calls her attention to a dying father’s smile of approbation on his daughter’s choice, while she remembers the shrinking from his carresses, eager longings until now unsatisfied, and then feeling of relief often when his visit was over. He says that I can live happily with another. I answer that for one moment of perfect bliss with him I thought I wouldn’t murmur at an after life of unhappiness. At this he vowed he would, could and should make me happy and that hen would hold me to my sacred promise to become his wife, but I cannot even if I never see my darling again for mine he is and Bettie must and shall learn to love someone else. He says that I can live happily with another. I answer that for one moment of perfect bliss with him I thought I wouldn’t murmur at an after life of unhappiness. At this he vowed he would, could and should make me happy and that he would hold me to my promise to become his wife, but I cannot even if I never see my darling again for mine he is and Bettie must and shall learn to love someone else. Her nature isn’t such as mine, but he may love again, I never! Yet I find it out when I sorrow most. “It is better to have love and lost than to have never loved at all” yet I can’t keep from thinking “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the sad are these it might have been” still I must not bid him hope for hope deferred maketh the heart sick. Will he despise the weakness that forces this confession? No for the truth must ever claim respect. Woman gird thyself for the battle and rave no more thus foolishly, for if ye are separately on this earth have ye not all eternity to love each other in? Oh give me one of natures nobleman stalwart and grave and strong yet tender loving and true and so that his eyes may be earnest. I’d as life have them brown as blue. To this pure white paper do I again resort to calm in slight degree my tortured brain. I have just laid down his last letter he has given me up his idol has turned to clay else why does he write mine “nevermore”? Alas too true and I am his yes Waller (how lingeringly my pen traces that name) my heart’s true mate to whomsoever my hand be given through God knows I must and will be a true wife yet my heart will leave its keeper my love, my life, my all. Oct. 21st. Well here I am same as ever and yet not the same; will it be always my lot to wound? What can it be that attracts men I wonder? I’m sure I do not seek their notice, and yet have I brought as it were to my feet someone whose mere look so delights my darling sister while his eyes seem rivited to my ugly face. Why oh! shy must it be? and only last week while innocently enjoying a buggy ride, wounded a loyal heart that beats only for me. Oh if papa were only here to advise me why did he smile approval on the engagement contracted when a mere child? but-“everything happens for the best” he doubts it though. I wonder if Nettie teases him such, as she is so much like me-no, no, that thought must not be expressed even on paper that only my eyes see. I guess if someone could see theses lines they would find they have made a great mistake about my disavowing tender feeling and think on the contrary that he has bestowed his affections on a very silly girl who will persist to use his own expression in loving him to the bitter end. How I long for the clasp on his strong right hand Wallers hand on my own dear loves hand. All along: I wonder if someone is thinking of me. I wonder if he feels as utterly alone as I do. That scamp Nellie what a darling she is to be sure. Little does she think how eagerly I devour the least information regarding him how I pray that she may never wish as I do longingly yearningly for the sight of a dear noble face that I must not see. How she does try to get one to confide in her but altho I thank her for her confidence I must not tell her for then in trying to spare me pain she would take from me a great pleasure by omitting his dear name in her letters. How glad I am she does not call him Waller. I am feeling very hopeful tonight tho I have no cause it seems as if something must intervene to relieve one from a bondage I so much dread marriage with anyone but him will indeed be bondage. All is sinful I will dream thus no more, my own farewell.