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This Week in History: February 14

Virginia’s mother, Lucy, had given Robert and Virginia permission to marry after Virginia turned 18. From the looks of this letter, Virginia called off the upcoming nuptials, even after a wedding date had been selected. Now, poor heartbroken Robert’s trying to get her back. Grab the tissue; this gets pretty sappy. Happy Valentine’s Day from Campbell House.

Miss Virginia J. Kyle

[Resent] Mrs. Robert Campbell
St. Louis

Saint Louis December 20th 1840

My Beloved Virginia,

Although I have not written you for nearly a year, you have been the subject

Virginia Campbell, circa 1852

of my constant thoughts – I can safely say that you have never been an hour from my mind when I was free from the excitement of business – your image my dearest Virginia is ever present to my mind as when we sat locked in each others embrace planning our happy future when you would become entirely my own. I cannot forget you if I would and I would not if I could.

My dearest Virginia let us both forget all the unpleasant occurrences that have taken place since we parted – let us look forward to the future with the hope of enjoying in each others society all the pleasures that a happy wedded couple are sure to experience.  Give me dearest Virginia the privilege of visiting you either in Raleigh or any other place you may designate and I promise you that what ever may be your decision after we have been in each others society a few hours, that decision shall be binding – all I ask is to have the privilege of renewing my claims in your presence and that you meet me free of prejudice and I have every confidence and hope in the result.  I believe my Virginia you are too kind and just to deny me this request – the time was when you denied me nothing.

I have never sought the influence of another to bias your judgment since first we met.  I would still depend on your decision sooner than gain your love by indirect means, and with you my Virginia have enlivened and made happy the brightest portion of my life and it is now in your power to make me forever happy – or wretched.

Robert Campbell, circa 1850

I have often endeavored to conjecture what were your real feelings and whether you do not, even in the presence of those who endeavor to make themselves most agreeable to you, sometimes think of the happy hours when you sat in my embrace and vowed that no power on earth should separate us, nor prevent our union.

Do you recollect when you told me that you had prayed to the Throne of Grace for a blessing on our union, and that you hoped your prayers were heard, and asked me to join you in making a similar prayer?  I cannot believe my Virginia that you do not regret the course you have pursued to me, and I have sometimes thought that you would forgive me, if, contrary to your express command in banishing me from your presence, I would go to see you again – the fear however of meeting you with a could on that  lovely face that beamed with such angelic smile on me before we parted has deterred me.  With you my Virginia the paths of life would be strewed with flowers – without you the world is to me a desert.  You will know dear Virginia that none can ever love you with the constancy and devotion that I love you.

When we parted my Virginia you were my affianced bride – the day on which you had agreed to become mine was named, and yet without assigning any just reason for a change you  refused to fulfill your engagement and forbid me to meet you.  Was this fair or was it just?

The ring and the locket containing your hair, which you gave me as tokens of unalterable love and constancy, I have worn since the day we parted – your letters I perused so often that there is not a word you have written that is not impressed on my heart in indelible characters – your words – your very looks and your most minute actions are treasured in my bosom – In short dearest Virginia I live for you.

Present my respect and kind remembrances to your good mother, I hope she will act as your advisor and as my friend.  I can promise her that everything the fondest husband can do, will be done to promote the happiness of her lovely daughter.  Give my love to my kind friend Ellen – thank her for me for her repeated kind acts and expressions.

In the course of a few days I expect to start for Philadelphia and will expect my beloved Virginia to receive from you on my arrival a letter in reply to this.  You had better direct to care H&A Campbell & Co. which will ensure its immediate delivery.  A year has nearly flown since you were to have been my bride – do not my beloved one make any further delay, but the happy day when you will come to my heart as my own and I promise you to be ever your loving and devoted husband.

Robert Campbell

[Side of first page] My dearest Virginia write me a long letter and tell me all you think of respecting yourself that will ever  be to me the most welcome subject.  I can say little that would be calculated to interest you – my business has been prosperous – if it had not been so I would never solicit your hand.  I believe I can on your arrival here introduce you into as good society as you will meet anywhere – and oh my Virginia with what pride and pleasure I will do so you alone can imagine who knows the ardor of my love.

[Side of second page] Do you write to Mary Margaret or Bessie?  I hope you do, although circumstances have caused a restraint.   You are beloved by all of them.

God bless you my Beloved Virginia, R.C.

[Written for 2nd address in Lucy’s handwriting, top of front cover]

My dear Virginia, like mother Eve I have been tempted to open this letter.  If Robert should not be present I know you will be very angry but as he will hand it to you, I know you will not risk his good opinion by showing it, I saw it advertised, also one for Mrs. Robert Campbell, I sent for both immediately and was almost angry enough with Mr. Scot to have him put out of office if in my power I send you the paper you will see then advertised the other was from Ann Wilson in reply to yours and written on the 25 Feb. It is not worth sending at this late date, you will perceive how the Raleigh people mourned for the President if you were here.  I know you would have a piece of crepe tied round your arm too such a good Whig, I have not had a line from you since you left Pittsburgh to say whether you were alive or dead.   I have felt very anxious for the last week, with a great deal of love to Mr. Robert Campbell.

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