Nov. 20th 1873.
My very dear Friend.
Your letter was brought to me at my sheep ranch more than fifty miles from any Post Office. I read it sitting upon a stone with a broad expanse of solitude spread around me, while I watched & herded another man’s sheep for a living! When you also consider that I am between 60 & 70 years of age, am poor and have won no distinction of any kind it seems to me the oracle you consult is a frail one indeed.
But as I do love you dear as the “bone of my bone and the flesh of my flesh” my great partiality for you may lead me to hope more from your remarkable intellect than you will realize.
If you have the means (and if I had them you should have them) your plan is just such a one as I would form for you as your inclinations lead you in that direction.
You are right in deciding that your mind was not given to you to be frittered away in frivolity. I was right in deciding that marriage and motherhood was not intended for you by the Creator, he designed you for a higher destiny – and you will attain it.
Let your motto be “Excelsior(,)” avoid love, marriage and all other entanglements, and relaxations until you have attained the high distinction you aspire to. Fame and fortune will then await you, and there will still be time to indulge in [END PAGE 1] the tenderness of your heart and the warmth of your affections.
It is not even probable that you and I will ever meet again. I am old and continually receding into a deeper and darker obscurity perhaps shortly to die in some solitary desert where even my bones will not again be seen by any human being.
While your course will still be onward and upward with a fame probably as wide as literature and as enduring as time, I feel however that the mystic chord of affection has drawn us together, that the love and sympathy between us has been pure and chaste as the virgin snows upon the lap of Diana and that it will endure to the end no matter what end we shall reach. At a time or more leisure I will try to write again.
God Bless and prosper you
in all your undertakings
B. A. Owens, M.D.