ZEBULON PIKE VISITS HIS OLD HOME
Dear Mrs. Coney,—
Our Thanksgiving affair was the most enjoyable happening I can remember for a long time. Zebulon Pike came, but I had as a bait for him two fat letters from home. As soon as I came back from his place I wrote to Mrs. Carter and trusted to luck for my letter to reach her. I told her all I could about her brother and how seldom he left his mountain home. I asked her to write him all she could in one letter, as the trips between our place and his were so few and far between. So when she received my letter she wrote all she could think of, and then sent her letter and mine to Mothie and Phœbe, who are widows living in the old home. They each took turns writing, so their letters are a complete record of the years “Zebbie” has been gone. The letters were addressed to me along with a cordial letter from Mrs. Carter asking me to see that he got them and to use my judgment in the delivering. I couldn’t go myself, but I wanted to read the letters to him and to write the answers; so I selected one piece of news I felt would bring him to hear the rest without his knowing how much there was for him.
Well, the boys brought him, and a more delighted little man I am sure never lived. I read the letters over and over, and answers were hurried off. He was dreadfully homesick, but couldn’t figure on how he could leave the “critters,” or how he could trust himself on a train. Mr. Stewart became interested, and he is a very resourceful man, so an old Frenchman was found who had no home and wanted a place to stay so he could trap. He was installed at Zebulon Pike’s with full instructions as to each “critter’s” peculiarities and needs. Then one of the boys, who was going home for Christmas to Memphis, was induced to wait for Mr. Parker and to see him safe to Little Rock. His money was banked for him, and Mr. Stewart saw that he was properly clothed and made comfortable for the trip. Then he sent a telegram to Judge Carter, who met Zebulon Pike at Little Rock, and they had a family reunion in Yell County. I have had some charming letters from there, but that only proves what I have always said, that I am the luckiest woman in finding really lovely people and having really happy experiences. Good things are constantly happening to me. I wish I could tell you about my happy Christmas, but one of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop loading you down with two-thousand-word letters.
From something you wrote I think I must have written boastingly to you at some time. I have certainly not intended to, and you must please forgive me and remember how ignorant I am and how hard it is for me to express myself properly. I felt after I had written to Mr. Parker’s people that I had taken a liberty, but luckily it was not thought of in that way by them. If you only knew how far short I fall of my own hopes you would know I could never boast. Why, it keeps me busy making over mistakes just like some one using old clothes. I get myself all ready to enjoy a success and find that I have to fit a failure. But one consolation is that I generally have plenty of material to cut generously, and many of my failures have proved to be real blessings.
I do hope this New Year may bring to you the desire of your heart and all that those who love you best most wish for you.
With lots and lots of love from baby and myself.