Oh Henry! The Long Divorce of Emiline Coleman

Part 1: Exhibit J

Huntsville Ala. September 20th, 1836

Dear Henry,

Do not trouble yourself any longer about me I always knew I was born to meet trouble and see disappointment. Therefore I will be content though not happy, to obliterate my name from your heart, never more think of me.

The night you were in the garden Mr. C sayd I must have known you were there though he does not know who it was, but I stayed so very long when I went there before you came I had just gone to the house as he started down there. I called him I thought if you were there you would hear me and go away.

That was the only reason [I] called him the minute he came in the house he sayd I must have known who you were, he for the first time in his life spoke unkind to me I did not say a word to him, he asked me two or three times who you was but I would not tell him, he sayd if I did not tell him who it was I might go my way and he would his and he sayd a great many other things but he saw I would not say any thing, he came to bed I thought at one time I would tell him all and go to your to protect me but I thought it might lead to death and probably yours, then what would have become of me?

I would have no one to go too all that cept me from it was on your account Henry, wait a year or two, then perhaps we may be united with honor.

The night after you let here I dreamed I was lost in the most beautiful forest I ever saw. I was walking in a little path and I came to a beautiful spring and by the side of it lay a little boy asleep, he was about three or four years of age he was the most beautiful child I thought that ever was, his hair as glossy as it could be and his cheeks like roses. I touched him and he asked me who I was, I told him my name then I asked him his he sayd he could not tell me, he told me if I would go with him he would give shelter in his fathers ship he would not tell me who his father was, and I asked myself if any so heavenly as this little boy could do me harm. I thought not.

The vessel lay at anchor in a Lake it was the most beautiful ship that ever was made, the sail was of sky blue silk, he unfurled the sail and it sett off at full speed, it was on the most beautiful water I ever saw, the form of the ship reflected in it like a mirror, it was intirely unruffled, it was as calm as though some fairy floated o’er it. Though it did not last long, a cloud arouse in the west, the wind blew very hard, the lightnings flashed the thunders rowled and the ship struck a rock and it was about to reck, the little boy clasped me around my neck and asked me if I would protect him.

I told him I would while Life last. I asked him then who was his father and he said “Henry Riley is my Father.” Great Heavens how I felt I can not describe when I felt myself clasped in your arms, for at that moment you stept on board of the ship I knew not how you got on board. I asked you how you came there your answer was you came to save us and the vessel did not sink. I was so much frightened that it waked me and I got up and felt about to see if it was a dream or not, no one was in the room with me Mr. C was in the country, I was mad it was a dream, if there is any thing in dreams how will you interpret this? Why I will tell you how I interpret it, some dreadful dishonor awaits me and you will save me from it just at the time I need protection most. I will not tire you any longer with my foolishness, write soon.

Adieu Henry. I have not been well since you left.

give my love to Sam

Yours E.R.C.

Part Two

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