May 13, 1808
I am sorry for the long delay in writing to you. I have become entirely taken up in the management of Greystone. In fact, Mr. Markham has agreed to give me a portion of the estate proceeds for my own management (without involving the trustees in his decision as they would likely find it to be unwise). I have decided to invest in a canal that will help to take wool from here in the north of England to the mills. Since one of our main revenues is wool, I think it only makes sense, do not you?
I am happy to hear that you will at last be able to buy your commission. I will be desolated to know that you are to be in danger, but I also know that this is something you feel you must do. As I have told you before I find it very honorable in you that you are willing to fight Napoleon. I feel sure you will be a great asset to the regiment.
I will of course write to you often while you are at the front. I will pray that you will be safe and that my letters will reach you to make you smile. Please let me know when you are to leave for Europe. I don’t think I will be allowed to see you off, but know that I would be there if I were able.
Do not worry about not being able to write to me. You will be concerned with much more important things. I have told you before that I am used to my one-sided conversations. I still hold them with Buttercup you see. She has yet to tell me what grass tastes like, so I had to discover for myself. It’s not something I would enjoy quite as much as she does, however it is not quite the worst thing I have tasted either.
You asked for a picture of a Lincolnshire spring with lambs running about. Here you are. I hope the coins falling from the lambs’ coats amuses you.
June 8, 1808
I only have a minute to dash this note off to you. I leave on July first. We are to head to Portugal first and then from there wherever we are needed most. I anticipate a rough time trudging through the mountains of Portugal and Spain at first, but perhaps we will end up further in. I will write when I am able. You must let me know how the canal scheme works. I may have to see if I can invest along with you.
Below is the address to which you can write me, although as you have already realized, the letters may not reach me.
June 20, 1808
Thank you for letting me know the date of your departure to Portugal. You are going to be missed! This may be the last letter you get from me for awhile, even though I will continue to write faithfully. I have included a braided lock of my hair for you to keep with you as a good luck talisman. At least I hope it will be good luck. If I really were a witch I could make it so, but instead I will say prayers for you daily. They will work better.
I refuse to get too sorrowful at your departure so I will instead let you know about the events here at Greystone.
The lambing went very well according to Mr. Markham. I was even able to go to one of the fields with him and met a few of the shepherds. They were very kind and explained many things to me. I think they enjoyed my questions. Their speech was very difficult to understand and sometimes it was hardly English that they seemed to be speaking! I was most impressed with the dogs they have to help them with their work. They have trained the dogs to do very specific tasks based on a series of whistles which they use as signals to tell the dogs what to do. I wondered if it is something I could learn how to do, but have decided I like to learn about money and investing much more.
The canal investment has yet to be determined if it is going to be profitable. I am patient however. The more I understand about such investments, the more I recognize that patience is key. I will keep you informed however and will be happy to give you information about what I learn regarding investments so that you can make your own.
Today’s drawing is of Tibby. She has been sewing me new gowns because all the others have suddenly become too short and too tight around my body. I suppose it means I am growing. In some ways I am glad of that as I will seem less like a little girl. But I don’t want to have to stop riding Buttercup.
I am not very good at drawing people yet. I will have to practice more.
My prayers are with you always,
November 10, 1809
Happy Birthday! I know that if this reaches you it will likely be months past this date, but birthday wishes are never amiss no matter when they come, are they not?
I am hoping all my previous letters this summer and autumn have somehow reached you. Things go on the same, over and over again. I have received the first notification of my profits from the canals. I have earned an eight percent return on the investment. According to the Public Ledger that is not too shabby a return on any investment. I will save the profits and invest the principal again to see if I can do any better. This time I am going to invest in some mills being built not too far from here. This makes sense since even with canals, the cost of transporting the wool can sometimes seem too costly. With mills close by there will be less cost in transporting the raw wool to be carded, spun and woven.
I have gotten a horse to learn to ride. The grooms are very kind and patient with me, and while in many ways it is much like riding Buttercup, in other ways it isn’t at all, is it? I feel so much smaller and further from the ground. I haven’t fallen off yet, and I hope I never do. Have you ever been tossed from a horse? I expect it hurts a great deal. Maybe I should try to fall off just so that the anticipation of doing so doesn’t become so frightful in my mind.
I have spoken with Buttercup about the change. She seems to understand, she nodded when I told her at any rate. I don’t know if that indicated an understanding or if she was letting me know that she is disappointed in me. Growing up is difficult at times, don’t you think? Of course you are already grown and these concerns are long past for you.
I will try to be more adult then. You don’t need to be subjected to my childish thoughts.
Today I am drawing a picture of the birthday cake that cook has made for you here. I asked her if she would do it, even though you cannot be here in person it seemed that someone should help you celebrate your twentieth year and so we are doing so at Greystone. Hopefully some day you will be able to celebrate a birthday here with us in person.
I still pray for you daily and think of you even more often than that.
God keep you safe,