December 25, 1807
Happy Christmas! I am determined to be cheerful even though it was extremely cold in church this morning and I was more sad than normal as everyone had a family to be happy with on this most special of days. You will understand this I know.
I am happy to know that your trustees have seen that a Cavalry regiment is just the place for you. You must let me know how to write to you when you have gone to fight Napoleon. I know absolutely that you will have even less time to write to me, but never fear that I will cease writing to you. In fact, it is only by sheer force of will that I have refrained from writing to you on a daily basis.
I have yet to hear from my own trustees. I imagine they are also much too busy to write to a child, even though my fortune is one of their main responsibilities. Instead of pestering them I have asked Mr. Markham to teach me more about the estates at Greystone. I have decided that since this is where I am at the moment it makes for a good place to start learning about where my fortune comes from. Of course I do think some of my money is in the London Exchange, and I’m not quite sure what that is, so I must endeavor to learn more about that.
My drawing this time is of the Christmas feast that we all shared together. I asked Tibby if we could perhaps have all the servants and workers on the estate along with their families join us in the grand dining room so that it would not seem so lonely. I was right. It made for a much more cheerful time than if it were just Tibby, Mr. Markham and I at table. I think I will make sure we do so again for Easter.
I will send this to you in care of Mr. Robert Chatham. I looked him up in Debrett’s Peerage and hope that I found the correct Mr. Robert Chatham. He is the second son of the Baron, correct?
February 17, 1808
I am writing to you on the occasion of my tenth birthday. I do not feel any different from yesterday. I expect that this is true of most birthdays. When is your birthday? I am sorry to not have asked you before now and hope that I have not missed the occasion to wish you a happy one.
To celebrate I gave Buttercup her favorite oat mash, and spent extra time on her coat with the curry brush. Since she has much more hair on her winter coat I think it feels extra good to her. Mr. Markham says it will soon be time for me to learn to ride a horse rather than spending my time jouncing around on Buttercup’s back, but I don’t want her to feel as if I am abandoning her. She is my dear friend and I will ride her as long as I am of a size that won’t hurt her.
Mr. Markham is impressed with my ability to work on the estate accounts and what he calls my ready understanding. I had no idea that wool brought in so much money to the estate! I will never look upon a sheep in the same way again. Instead of an animal I should be seeing coins and banknotes! Tibby feels my interest in money has gotten quite out of control. However she has agreed to allow me to subscribe to the Public Ledger so that I can begin to apply myself to learning about the exchange. Did you know that you can give money to people so that they can improve their own concerns and business endeavors and then they owe you not only the original sum back, but more as well? It seems a very good system.
I have written my trustees again to let them know I have begun to learn of these things and only received a short note back. It was rather discouraging, Mr. Everard told me that I needn’t worry about my fortune and that he and Mr. Cooper have it all well in hand. It sounded very much as if they thought I was nothing but a child. Which since I am, they are not entirely to blame, but Mr. Markham doesn’t treat me as such, so why should they?
Tibby has given me a lovely set of watercolors for my birthday so that I can begin to add more life and interest to my drawings. I have drawn for you today a picture of my birthday cake that cook made for me. It is not a very appetizing rendering, being mostly brown since it was very much like a plum pudding, no fresh fruit being available at this time of year. It tasted lovely however.
Thank you for continuing to write to me.
Yours as ever,
April 25, 1808
I am so sorry to have missed your birthday. I am enclosing a pamphlet that is published to help those who want to trade on the London Exchange to follow the rules. I don’t expect they would allow a ten year old girl to begin trading in person, but I think you will find it interesting never the less.
You did miss my birthday. I turned nineteen on November tenth. Please don’t be concerned about it however, as you could not have known that it was my birthday. My friends here took me to a public house to have a few rounds of drink and it was very enjoyable.
The spring time has finally come and I am heartily glad of it. I thought we would never see the sun again! Perhaps for your next picture you could include a picture of flowers in the Lincolnshire spring. That and a lamb or two running about since you are now much more enamored of the animal now that you know how much wool is worth!
I have heard from my trustees that I will be allowed to purchase my commission this summer. You are likely correct that I will have even less time to write to you and it is probable as well that any letters that you send could get lost as they travel to the front. Even so, I wish you will continue to write to me. Your letters can always make me smile.