This week in history: October 6‑October 12

An Octo­ber 8, 1838 let­ter from Robert Camp­bell to 16 year old Vir­ginia Jane Kyle, pro­fess­ing his undy­ing love:

[No Cov­er]

Saint Louis Octo­ber 8th 1838
My Own Dear­est Virginia
Near­ly two weeks ago I wrote you direct­ing my let­ter to  Raleigh, not know­ing how­ev­er where you were to be found yet  feel­ing con­fi­dent that your good moth­er would for­ward it to  wher­ev­er you might be — since then how­ev­er I had a let­ter from  Mary in which she men­tioned that your uncle Simp­son had passed  through Phi­la and called at the store and told Hugh that you and  Ellen had arrived in Raleigh a short time before he left, but did not say where you were to remain there or return to Phi­la.  Mary was quite dis­ap­point­ed in not receiv­ing an answer to a let­ter  she wrote you after her vis­it to Boston — I am inclined to view  every­thing that you do more favourable than oth­ers, and are  will­ing to believe that you nei­ther received Mary’s let­ter nor  either the one I wrote from Boston or that from Phi­la after my  return from Boston in which I solicit­ed you to write me  imme­di­ate­ly and inform me where to direct a let­ter for you when I left Phi­la all these let­ters remain unan­swered to the present  moment at least so far as I am con­cerned.  I love you too dear­ly  my Vir­ginia to be deterred [spelled detered] from writ­ing you by a neglect that  might be caused by the mis­car­riage of let­ters not being deliv­ered to you.

[Pg. Break] I have often told you my own dear Vir­ginia that I  love you but to make you hap­py — If I thought that it would be  oth­er­wise I take God to wit­ness I should nev­er ask you to join me in the nup­tial vows, although I should devote my life to you I  would not mar your hap­pi­ness.  Still no oth­er could ever inspire  in me my feel­ing that were hal­lowed by your love.  If your love  ever abat­ed in the least, this world would not pos­sess a plea­sure worth enjoy­ing.  Death would be to me less thou­sand times dear­er than life, and would be wel­comed with all its hor­ror.  You know  all this Vir­ginia and you do not scru­ple to let me remain months  with­out hear­ing from you — Me you can­not believe capa­ble of  neglect — indeed I do wrong by con­fess­ing how much I have loved  when present how much I love and how anx­ious I feel when  departed.

I find no plea­sure my own love Vir­ginia com­plete until I  com­mu­ni­cat­ed it to you, all that inter­ests me I would impart to  you, I would have you ever with me, and feel a pride that I  can­not explain to pos­sess the most supe­ri­or of her sex in my own  Virginia.

Do you think my Vir­ginia that your moth­er sup­pos­es I do not  suf­fi­cient­ly appre­ci­ate the trea­sure I have select­ed her con­sent  for — My Vir­ginia you can answer her if she enter­tains such a  doubt — Life is to me noth­ing in the com­par­i­son of pos­sess­ing my  own Vir­ginia — You will know had I found you in the hum­blest  walks of life pos­sessed of the same heart and mind as you now are I would have sought your hand with greater avid­i­ty than I  have done.  But Vir­ginia I am now tru­ly unhap­py to be kept in  deferred hope for years when no obsta­cle inter­fer­ing that ever  forms a pre­text except to all you add are unnec­es­sary num­ber of  months to your bloom­ing youth.

[Pg. Break] She who was Miss Jane Kyle arrived here yes­ter­day as  Mrs. Clark and is now lodg­ing at the hotel where I board — Mr.  Clark arrived in Fayette on Wednes­day was mar­ried that evening and left next day on the stage for St. Louis.  She seems very hap­py  and so does Mr. Clark as a mat­ter of course, but it seems to me  that I have not seen any Mas­ter Man that is as hap­py as I will be when I press my own Vir­ginia to my heart as my love­ly wife —  when all my anx­i­ety occa­sioned by our sep­a­ra­tion will be removed and I will con­stant­ly enjoy­ing the smiles of her whom I have ever loved from our first meet­ing, even when you did not give me hope dear­est Vir­ginia I shall love you dear­er than any oth­er being in the world — and there Vir­ginia when you con­sent­ed to become my  bride and were the kind­est and affec­tion­ate Angel that ever  assumed Mor­tal Shape then oh dear­est Vir­ginia you know how  exquis­ite­ly hap­py I was — your soci­ety was to do me a world in  itself for your soci­ety ever oth­er enjoy­ment was aban­doned and  while I clasped you to my heart and pressed your ruby lips with  mine I scarce felt the plea­sure of this world — can it dear  Vir­ginia be con­sid­ered strange that I would think the deci­sion  hard and cru­el that would with­hold from me there plea­sures for  many months — Every­day appears to me a month when sep­a­rat­ed from  you — If you moth­er knew how dear­ly I love you she would not  sep­a­rate us as she now does.  I am sure she would not — and I am  in hopes when I receive a let­ter from you as I am dai­ly hop­ing  for that I will hear that my hap­pi­ness will not be so long  deferred.  I have in you a noble mind­ed and kind heart­ed advo­cate and I hope you will have all arranged to become my dear wife in  Decem­ber or Jan­u­ary next — may God grant you suc­cess my own one -

1st page of Robert's letter to Virginia

One thought on “This week in history: October 6‑October 12

  1. Pingback: This week in history: February 15-February 20 « Campbell House Museum’s Blog

Comments are closed.