Editor's Note: John Noble Wyllie was one of a group of prominent businessmen (James G. Penn, R. W. Peatross, and John Cosby were the others) who had advanced money to Claude A. Swanson for the purpose of furthering his education. See “Claude Swanson of Pittsylvania” for further context. At the time of the writing of this letter of sympathy to Mr. Wyllie, Swanson was attending law school at the University of Virginia.
University of Va. Oct.7th, 1885
Mr. Jno N.Wyllie,
I have been intending for sometime to write to you, but have been forced to defer this pleasure on account of the immense amount of work which I have undertaken here. I learned but very recently of the death of your sister, Miss Fannie, and I, who am so sensible of your goodness feel so grateful and warmly towards you for your many kindness, wish to assure you of my deep sympathy in your present distress. I feel intensely what must be your anquish at losing one, whom you loved so dearly, had associated with so long and whose worth and affection you felt so assured of and so highly appreciated. Though, Mr. Wyllie, your friends would not offend your feeelings by offering their friendship and interest, as a substitute for the love of your angel sister, yet the many friends, whom your kindness and goodness have made for you, would offer their deep interest and friendship to alleviate, as far as possible the great loss which you have sustained. I know that you know realize the great comfort which a consciousness of a trust in God and the knowledge of being a Christian give. I felt some delicacy at first Mr. Wyllie, in thus obtruding myself upon your sorrow for I feared it should have the appearance of officiousness, since I had never had an opportunity of proving my deep friendship for you, but I was conscious of such warm feelings toward you for your goodness to me that I can not forbear conveying some evidence of my deep sympathy and warm regard which I entertain for you.
I have been working incessantly since I came to the University. My determination to strive for a graduation in one year has entailed upon me an immense amount of work. I am at lectures three hours each day and I am compelled to study to keep up the course in addition nine hours each day. If I can contine this application I feel assured of graduation, as so far my recitations have been as good as any in the class. Hoping to have the pleasure of hearing from you soon, as I am.
Your most sincere friend
Claude A. Swanson
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