2 New Ormond St
Feb [February] 12th 1866
My very dear Mary,
I wonder how many years ago it was exactly to a day, that my heart was all in a flutter as I posted a certain valentine in a certain town of the north, the thought of which brings back many pleasant recollections of bygone days. I also wonder whether this letter will give more pleasure, than that valentine did, although there is no pretty picture to look at and nothing in the handwriting to recommend it but plainness. It may be that at one time I wrote with even greater plainness.
How pleasant it is to look back on those early days, when amidst the studies and the games of school days an undercurrent would shew itself for an instant at the surface and then hide itself again, only to be seen at distant intervals until at length it suddenly expands and pervades the whole life. What pleasant gleams of sunshine were those meetings at TreRethick and elsewhere. "Many a true word is spoken in jest": How well I remember a remark made to us by Edw [Edward] Nicolls at a party at TreRethick: "How difficult it is to converse when the heart is full! I wonder whether that was the time when I could not find the way home, but somehow or other found my way into the hinder seat of a double gig on a fine starlight night, when you declared to my great discomfiture that a certain song was much prettier than another which I timidly ventured to commend.
And have we not shared storms together before the Xmas of 1865 and yet how little did they interfere with those deeper feelings which could not be ruffled by adverse circumstances. I remember well, spending another day at Boscastle during that same summer, when Mary Dawe and I went down, and brought back your sister, and that she stayed at Trevadlock for the night and how greatly I was disappointed when in the morning Mr Dawe took her home instead of allowing me to have the pleasure of seeing you. I am not sure that Mary Dawe and I did not call to see you on the same day, but memory is so treacherous: I do not even remember how many years ago all this happened.