Homer, Iowa, January 15, 1861
Dear James,

I received your letter yesterday. If you sent or intended to send Harpers Monthly regularly, I do not think we have received it all. It is surely a welcome visitor among us, but we are tempted to read it at all times until it is exhausted, instead of keeping it to beguile long winter evenings, neglecting our work meanwhile or only slighting performing it. I pity you, slogging through the streets in the rain, but more especially because of your business at such times, for it is as unpleasant to give as to receive such calls. I have some experience and can sympathize with you.

I am sure I do not know whether we will stay here after next spring or not. I think we will, for it seems as though Homer is our destiny, so I try to on a smiling face and be contented, but it is hard work at some times. I do not think you need to be fearful of being in contact with "John Brownism" (by which I suppose you mean "abolitionism" and "opposition to southern interests") for the ... which which -- I did not mean to write "which" twice -- are our companions are remarkably silent on the subject, and I will try not to say a word on the subject, if you will only come ... and by the way, if you keep my mouth well stuffed ... I believe I might consent to become dumb while .... Oh ho, but the prairie chickens might croak ... might they? Well, I shouldn't wonder.

I am not surprised that you cannot bear to hear opinions expressed, opposite to your own; for it is the inevitable result of slavery to produce a domineering spirit which is exercised against all who differ with its supporters, but ah me! ah me! You won't come home if I talk in this strain.

Although we differ so widely, you letters never jar our feelings very seriously, and at most provoke a smile and a musing, "I wonder how he could have changed so."

By the way how came you to see any thing pretty in Lizzy coming from the north as she did?

"'Twas strange 'twas passing strange
and wondrous pitiful."

But I don't mean the last line and wish I had not written it.

There is no sign of the snow going off yet, and it has lain a month.

I had a fine sleigh ride today to Bell... about seven miles distant.

Give my love to Lizzy and Good bye for 'tis late.


I "shot off" a gun for the first time day before yesterday and am quite proud of my exploit.

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