East New Market


2 January 1869

James H. Thomas to Dr. Anthony L. Manning

(Collection of Karen Nicholson, Arlington, VA)

Dickinson January 2 1869

Dear Anthony

I received your kind letter before Christmas, just after the examination was over, and I was quite free to enjoy the pleasure of receiving a letter from a friend. Since then I have been enjoying the Holidays; so you must excuse me for not writing sooner. If you will,, I'll try to commence the new year more promptly in fulfilling the duties of friendship.---A new Year! How many fond recollections does it call to mine! The smiling friends far away, and my own lonely lot--But such is life: Now we regret that He whose almighty hand wakes its fateful strings from sleep has sung to Times wild harp the requiem of a departing year. Listening to the mournful dirge need our hearts be sad? The joyous carol of Christmas should have chased away each idle sigh. The present alone is ours; remindful of the past let us accomplish our fate for the future. The regret for the old year and the excitement of Christmas are alike gone---

Once again we find ourselves plodding on in all the reality of life--Each one as before will chase his favorite phantom. The gay will laugh, the Solemn brood of care. But happy is he who like thee has some fair living who will soften every sorrow, can make the desert to blossom as the rose.

But these are never idle speculation. I like better the reality of life--the merry jingle of the sleigh bells is sweeter music to me than the soft voice of any love sick maiden--

Sometimes I get a little romantic in spite of common sense; but very seldom--I remember once, it was the silent hour of twilight (as a lover would say) in a delightful garden I wandered with as fair a girl as ever rivaled the lilacs of this sweet valley of Cumberland. After strolling about among the scenery and gazing at the moon we came to an old fashioned swing that hung from limb of a tree whose branches had oft sheltered us before. As I gently waved her toward me And proven by the tiny gazing at her fairy form, I for one became partical By accident For of course, I always grasped her hand as I gave her a new inpetus in her fairy circle For once I lost my cold equilibrium, and had almost exhausted my vocabulary of spooning protestations, when she looked up with most bewitching smile, her ruby lips parted --now I to hear the confession of sympathy. Perhaps some ? ? in more delightful state--But no---If you don't quit squeezing my hand and talking so, I--I'll jagy (?) you with -a pin- When I heard this consoling reply ---"Richard was himself again"---And never since have I paid the slightest regard to bright smiles or moonlighted walks---quite an adventure! I have often smiled to think how silly it was and if I win a

smile from you I am content---I have seen many a fairer one than the heroine of that adventure but I never talked spooning lines once---and I may tell it you sometime, when I am in laughing humor---But now I must close---you must write soon, and a very long letter---Give my love to all my friends, and * (blotted out) to all the pretty girls--I believe sometimes that a change has come over the spirit of my ?


Yours Truly

* guess what I blotted out---- Jas. H. Thomas