November 7th, 1874
My dear daughter,
I received yesterday, in this place, your welcome letter of October 31st, acknowledging mine of Oct. 25th. I wrote you again on the eve of my departure from San Luis so that you still owe me one. I am glad to hear that you are progressing in your studies, and hope that you will come out well in your examination. I feel that I need not press upon your attention the necessity of using every endeavor to excel in your studies, for I think that you have sufficient ambition to do so, without my prompting.
I am surprised that you should find composition difficult. Every letter you write me is a composition, and is good practice for you. I presume, however, that in school they give out to you some subject upon which to write, and you are obliged to set down your thoughts upon it. This, of course, is more difficult than ordinary letter writing, as in the latter you treat only of what must be familiar to you, as the news of the house or neighborhood, the health of relatives, etc. etc. But this style of exercise which I presume they prescribe for you is very useful, as it stirs up the ideas, brings them out, and stimulates the use of the intellectual faculties. Do not tire; but strive as hard as you can to comply with the task that is set you.
At your age I had never been required to write on any subject; and perhaps it would have been better for me if I had. I had voluntarily commenced to write verses, however, which generally follows instead of precedes prose composition. I was a very lengthy letter-writer, for I had two elder sisters, with whom I was in constant correspondence. This assisted me greatly, and [I] trust that you will cultivate letter writing, so that you also may improve by experience. Choose for your correspondents such as known more than yourself, so that you may learn of them. For want of a more congenial friend, I have volunteered to be your correspondent myself, so that I may be of some use to you in framing your mind.
I trust, my dear daughter, that you will believe that I love you, that you will repay me with your love, and that you will make that gift more precious, by proving to me that it proceeds from a good heart and a mind ambitious to improve to its fullest capacity. I assure you, my dear daughter, that I will do all I can, that you may not fall behind in education as your sisters have done, but rather go onward and proceed to the utmost attainable point. If you will only second me in this, by taking the utmost advantage of the instruction afforded you, my greatest desire in life will be accomplished.
I shall by very glad to see the picture you promised me. I am sorry that you did not get a good a copy as you desired, but "que vamos hacer?" It happens so sometimes.
I will write to your mother to have "Chatterbox" sent you. I sent you from San Luis a Spanish book, Goodrich's Select Stories for the Young, translated into that language. You will see by the inscription in it, that I bought it for you as far back as May last. I do not know whether you have ever seen it before. I hope you will like it, but fear that it is somewhat too simple for you. As it is in Spanish, a language which you have not studied, perhaps it is better for being simple.
I learn by letter from your mother that you told the girls when in Oakland, that you wanted a hat, a pair of gloves, a woolen gown and some under clothing. This the girls forgot to report until after I left. You can see or write to Mrs. Rutherford, and she will get these things for you. I enclose your mother's letter to me.
I remain, in haste
Your affectionate father,