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[Letter from Young John Allen to Mollie Houston, March 11, 1857]

E. C. Oxford Geo.
March 11th 1857

My Dearest Mollie

You received my note a few days since, I suppose, acquainting you, that I should be necessarily detained or [unclear] delayed in answering your last letter. I reckon too, you begin to feel or think that my week's graceis now about expired, well, Dearest, it is out to night [sic] I believe, and yet I can hardly claim just a few minutes of [added] my own, even though I desire to devote them to thee alone- but I will venture any howto write you a few lines, for as you said of me I know you deserve them, and I can not, I will not withhold any longer, that which I know and feel so [added] justly belongs to thee.
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But, Dearest, in the first place, I have many apologies to make, and I think they are due to yourself and just to me. My remarks in reference to the anxiety and suspense (well, well Mollie I've broke my gold pen right here) which I felt, were perhaps rather strong, and expressed in language, as I too truly apprehended, which was of so dubious and equivocal meaning as to convey to your heart rather unpleasant sensations. Believe me, Dearest, it was an unintentional as well as an unguarded stroke, --for I could never trifle thus with your tenderest feelings,-- inflicted in the moment of intense emotion and the excitement of that earnest affection which the poor limping ambiguouslanguage of that hour so far failed to express to you.

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It was not, My Dearest, in the spirit of censure that I wrote them; I chide not your delays, for yours are always good excuses, (though you say you have none) and I accept them. I did not then write them, to reprove your delay, by no means; nor did I censure the past to amend the future, and yet, Dearest Mollie, those sentiments are were [added] the true utterances of my heart. Yes, Mollie, of that heart, whose every pulse claims to be a throb responsive to thine; They were utterances, voices, echos, as it were, from the very soul of affection, and how sorry indeed was I to learn that they had pained thy heart-- but why should I write so much about this, were it a crime, then it might need some extenuation, a flagrant offense, then might I waste time to palliate it,
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but as it is neither, ( [gap 1 words strikethrough] [deleted] ) but what I regard, as the indubitable evidence and unmistakeable manifestation on either side.-- (The strongh [sic] expressions and rather, as some might think, extravagant picture of anxiety on the one and the pained heart and moistened eye of affection on the other)-- of that true and vital union of hearts which (I trust) we have enjoyed for so many years, and which I trust we shall in years to come enjoy more intimately and inseparably.-- [deleted] I shall now hasten on, knowing that you will not love me less for having told you how glad I am to be with you and when I cannot be with you, how I rejoice to hear from you- and when either fails, how torturous and painful the interval
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that we [unclear] are separated, that holds our hearts from the [deleted] sweet [added] communion. Pardon me, Dearest, for writing so much about that, I could not say less.

I have just now arrived at the threshold of my letter-- and doubtless you think I ought to have been there before now-- and I find that I am scarcely able to enter; I am litterally [sic] , Dearest, nearly worn out; duty! duty!! study! study!! clamors at my heels all day long, and at night fatigued and weary I sit down to write with brain addled, thoughts confused, and scarcely strength or energy enough to originate a thought or conceive an idea, and so it is to night, as you perceive from what has preceded, and no hope for the better.

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But, Dearest, I promised you [deleted] that I had a few items for you, reserved especially for this communication, in addition to which I thought I would also add some little fragments of news (or "reflected fragments" as Mrs. Cross calls them) as news is such a rare thing with me, and still rarer in our communications.

In company with Prof. Williams I had the privilege on last Saturday week of visiting Madison, by the way, quite a noted place for its colleges, schools and general intelligence, for the high toned moral character and dignified sentiments and deportment of its citizens. As we were there for solicitation and our only business was to establish a Lodge of Knights of Jericho, (at the head of which
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we found the Pastor [added] D'nl [unclear] Kelseyof the Church surrounded by a noble and zealous corpse of the oldest and most valiant citizens of the place, all of the same fold, (Methodists I mean) we had some more attention paid us than had it been a visit on any other occasion-- (but by the by, Prof W. was once Prof. there in the Meth. Col.) and therefore I was well accommodated and provided for.-- Pardon my awful (--)ses.parentheses [added] In the evening I went around to the College buildings and made my circuit embrace the principal boarding houses. I saw many beautiful faces, notwithstanding the compliment quite the contrary which I heard a Young American pay them.-- I could hardly realize the place or the thought that I was passing
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through the [added] streets of Madison, hemmed in on all sides by so many bright eyes and happy, smiling faces as met my askant glance from to [added] the window of their study. I fancied myself more than once in LaGrange, but as quickly from there I found myself at Macon, but no Dearest One's glance, or smile or eye, kindled this heart or eye, for I knew, My Only Beloved, was not one of them, but that she was far away, and that made me sad. So pensively I passed from their midst, but as I was wending along betwixt a "smile and a tear", half glad and half sad, about, I knew not what, lo! I came to the grave yard-- the fittest place for me then-- and entering, soon
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I stood the living above the dead--as if in obedience to the poetic injunction-- "Ye living men come view the ground
Where you must shortly lie,"
I had appeared there. It was a solemn place, the pantings of the multitude died away before they reached it, no thoroughfare with its jumbling of carriages and rattling wheels and tides of (active) life, broke upon the stillness of the scene, nor invaded the rights of the sleepers; no unkid foot or careless wandered amid the habitations of the lonely dead or traced the brief epitaph at once their history and eulogisms. It was a solemn place, I repeat again, but I love solitude and solemn things and therefore I loved that place
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and indulging (the) a meditative mood I found it good to be there. "Solitude" says our great Revivalist, "makes the head clearer and heart better." So I hope it was with me that evening. I wandered amid the tombs, read inscriptions, meditated, thought of the past, the present and the future, thanked God that while below me lay "the countless dead" above me was (the heaven", rejoiced that though soon I should be as they, that I had a hope that I should be with Christ. Learned many impressive lessons from pages, resolved to live better, more devoted to God, nearest to heaven and in Christ. I forgot to mention that at a little distance northward runs the R. Road where the
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the [sic] cars as they pass over the lofty embankment seemed if intent, to point the weary traveller to his last and final home; yes, it struck me very forcibly Dearest, to see the cars sweeping by there freighted with immortal destinies, and I immediately thought of the passage-- which runs somehow thus--"The day shall [added] will come when he that runs may [added] shall read," and thought I, this must surely be an instance of its fulfillment-- for who, that looked upon that place, did not read his own destiny and his (final) inscription, thus--"'Tis the birthright of mankind
to die."
Many interesting reflections and thoughts were suggested there, but I have not time now to speak of them, I fear I am wearing your patience any how.

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Suffice then to say in conclusion for the night, that I left the grave yard better in heart and in head than when I entered its portals, and hastened back to town, it being then late in the evening, took supper and immediately entered upon the discharge of our business-- the instituting of a K-J-Lodge; we concluded about 10AM and took the 11AM train back to Oxford reaching here about 1PM, had a fine night's rest &c and arose early and prepared for the duties and exercises of the sabbath, a brief account of which I will give you tomorrow night if nothing prevents more than I now know of to the contrary.

So until then, I commit thee My Dear Savior, and bid you an affectionate Good Bye.--Young

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