~Letters from William Spratt to Nancy Thompson~
My Dear Friend:-
You may think strange by the receipt of this note so soon after seeing you in town, but the very fact of seeing you this evening has induced me to address you for the purpose of having our interviews renewed.
Nancy, my heart acknowledges the influence you have gained over my affections, & I cannot think for a moment to deny myself of the pleasure of your society any longer. You can better imagine the emotions of my feelings when I saw you on the street than I can describe, for positively language, which I can command, is utterly inadequate. My purpose was to write to you soon, but I do so now, & en longe, hope to spend a few hours in the society of one with whom I anticipate spending many hours of real & true happiness.
I suggest, one week from this evening as the time when I would be happy to call on you, if it will be suitable to you;- if not you can name the time, but , pray let it be soon. I will expect a note from you, knowing your mind on the suggestion, & in the meantime believe me your true friend & well wishes,
Good night – Pleasant dreams!
It is almost 11 o,clock, but I must write you more. ----------I arrived here Thursday morning at 8, o,c- of last week. I am in an office with Drs. Bowen & Knowlton, whom I find very amiable men &, skilled in this profession. I have very good facilities for pursuing my studies, as they have a good supply of books, charts plates xc, & every thing a student could wish. I like them as preceptors, & think I will be very amply paid by coming here, although it will cost me considerable. They ask no fee----more than my being in the office during their absence, a reasonable portion of my time, & render some little assistance as compounding medicines xc: So my board will be all my expense, excepting the travel & other incidental matters. I board with Dr. Bowen & find them a very pleasant family. The family consists of Dr. & lady, & two young ladies. A third one is visiting her sister in P--? now. They had four daughters only.
I pay $3.00 per week, I have a pleasant room to study in & am doing very well. My light is gas. They furnish three rooms & I use one of them. I mean the Drs. have 3 rooms belonging to the office. It is in third story of a large brick block (Wood’s Block) affording a very good view of part of the town. I don’t like the two flight of stairs to climb so often.
The town is the most beautiful place I ever saw, to be a small place. It boasts of about 7,000 inhabitants or the size of Canton. I will not describe the beauties of the place here, but wait till I see you.
I am amongst the "live Yankees" on the Reserve & will no doubt be Yankeefied by the time of leaving. They are wide-awake & full of speculation.
We are absorbed in Grant’s movements, & get the telegrams at an early date. The people are wild, but fears of our defeat. My preceptors are very ferefull.
I see I must close not being satisfied with what I have written. But it is from your old friend & you will excuse its unworthyness. I hope to hear from you soon & tell me all you have to say for it is a long time to harvest. I am amongst strangers & no acquaintances & a good long letter from you will be very acceptable. Tell John El—ss? that I am well. There is so much I would like to say. May God bless you, & guardian angels watch your slumbers. Write soon, & in the meantime believe my your true, sincere & devoted friend, Will R Spratt. Good night.
Jan 29th 1865.
My Dear Friend:-
Were you here, or me there, I could answer your letter verbaly, much better than by pen.
Since the receipt of your very kind & touching favour, which reached its destination yesterday, I have scarcely been one moment without you before my mind, & this evening I have devoted, partially, to a carefull & candid consideration of the contents of your note, & in recalling some of the past four years or more, during which time I have spent many happy hours with one, who now thinks that she is unworthy of my adoration. I am greatly puzzled to know how to reply to your more than letter, for it is too much for me to pass by lightly, as I know that the sentiments contained therein are the outpourings of a pure heart, almost broken by sad disappointment. Now, dear girl, I must say that I yet do not know what to say in reply, but shall trust in Divine assistance to direct me in this, & pray fervently that what I shall say shall be directly for our mutual interests, as ordered by Him who is our wisdom at all times. You will bear with me while I endeavour to answer some of your inquiries, & correct some mistaken notions which you entertain. You want to know why I so suddenly changed my mind. Well, I need not repeat here, but refer you to the letter written at Vaughnsville, in which I gave you my reasons. Now Nancy, I was candid in writing you as I did at that time, & did so with due deliberation, for I thought from the tone of your letter, that you were indifferent about writing. Now, allow me to say further, that the last evening I called, & my unkindness towards you, I think you were to blame, & the way you treated me on leaving, I scarcely merrited.
My reasons are these:- you remember how you inquired of me about Lieut. Crumbacher, & your inquiries lead me to do as I did, and then you treated me—you remember how. But I did not care much for all this, untill you wrote me while I was here & called up all this & it was then that I thought we had best close our correspondence. Is this satisfactory? This is my answer to your inquiry "why I so suddenly changed my mind."
You think I do not consider you worthy of my esteem. You are deceived in this. I am the unworthy one. Do not think so again, for you are certainly mistaken.
Also, that I was not very anxious to see you while at home. I certainly desired an interview with you before leaving & was as much disappointed by not seeing you that day as ever I was. I went to town the day previous allowing to be at your place most of the day, but was disappointed & was not able to call in the evening. I left the next day. I should have been there before I was, but was afraid to venture out & when I did go, run more of a risk of bringing on a relapse than any one was aware of. I was not able to return here when I did, but was anxious to be at my studies.
You say, that whenever I knew your conclusion to the question I so often asked you, that I then forsook you. Nancy, I hope my arm may fall withered to my side, & my reason forsake me, if I ever thought of such a thing. Is this saying enough? Now I have been thus particular to satisfy you on the above points, & hope I have succeeded for I am as honest in what I have said, as I live.
One thing I wish to ask you & trust you will answer me. You stated that you never wanted to answer that question until you were able to fulfill. What I wish to know is this—how is it that you know now that you can fulfill such a promise? Have you consulted your people & have you their consent?
Will you be so kind as to answer these questions fully in your next? This I certainly want to know & when you could fulfill the same. This is not asking too much.
I don’t know that I have written as you desired, namely- one kind letter- but my object was to satisfy you that I always meant to be honest with you & never meant to gain your affections, & then forsake. You have been too true to me that I should act thus. You leave it to my honor to "treat you right" & I certainly always was ambitious so to do. I certainly was prompted by proper motives, & you had my adoration unalloyed. Now, Nancy, I will leave this with yourself & as you desire, that shall I do. & honestly hope that I may be enabled to render you happy, as ever a woman was. Have I said enough? Will these few lines soothe & quiet that wounded & broken heart, which is so fervently devoted to such unworthy an object?
I thank you for all the kindness expressed in you last, & hope you will forgive me for causing you so much distress of mind. You will decide as you think prudent in this matter. & I hope you decision may result in much happiness to both.
We are having a class (clase?) winter- sleighing for about eight weeks. 412 students present. I am about well, although not at all myself yet. I will look for a reply soon & do as you did in your last with fully your feelings & mind. & be assured you write to a true friend. May God bless you abundantly.
Yours as ever, Will ------
(Nancy married William almost a year and a half later on November 20, 1866)