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My Much Loved Ellen:--Yesterday I received your affectionate letter of March 16th. To say that its contents were eagerly devoured and with pleasure dwelt upon would be superfluous. Nearly all the letters I receive urge me to return home soon, and in this they all recommend that which I most wish to do. None can be more anxious for my return than I am, once more to visit my native home and friends. But I think that where a person has undertaken the task that I have, he would be made of poor stuff indeed to stop half way. I am yet young, not twenty-three, and now is the time to use my energies. I believe a man must succeed here if he is energetic, industrious, persevering, and economical, and believing this, I would be doing injustice to my own feelings and to my friends to leave without giving it a fair trial.
My dear Ellen, you must not think from what I have written above, that I love you less, or that I am getting careless or indifferent about my friends or home. I am anxious to return, and have a home of my own or rather our own, a domestic fireside. To return with as poor a hand as I left with would almost necessarily render this next to impossible. You and I may just as well speak just what we think to each other, and therefore, I will use no reserve and I hope you will not either. I could not bear the idea of taking a wife where the chances would be against my supporting her, and where one lives just upon what he earns and that just sufficient. A protracted illness or disability would be sure to produce misery and wretchedness. For myself, I could bear anything, but to see a sweet and confiding woman suffering on my account, would render me the most miserable of wretches.
Everything is very different in this country to what it was a year ago. Then we could scarcely get anything to make one comfortable. Now we can live tolerably well. Our fare is improving greatly.
I hear that there are over sixty old maids in West Chester! That is a great number indeed! But I believe it is their own fault. They won't accept when the beaux do propose to them! There are also a good many old bachelors. You cannot yet be put down under that head, and I hope to return and take you as a helpmate before I can be classed as an old bach.
My sheet is now full and I must close. Do write me often. Tell me all about yourself; everything, even the most trifling, interests me. Believe me as ever your
- Enos Christman