February 11, 2010
As you might expect paper, pen and ink are in short supply here. I have scrounged some up however and finally have a few moments altogether to write to you. I pray that it finds you in spite of the distance it must travel.
I have received a few of your letters, although I expect not all. Please continue to write and even if I only get one of every three or four sent I will cherish them. Your lock of hair sits in the inner pocket of my waistcoat where it has thus far truly been my good luck talisman. I hope that your coiffure did not suffer immeasurably due to its loss.
You should be proud of your growing acumen in finances. Most of my fellow officers haven’t a clue about their personal financial situation let alone where their own fortunes come from, whether it be wool, or grain or any other sort of crop. You have far outstripped my own knowledge as well, and only hope that you will continue to share your expertise with me in the future.
The officers here are a good group of men, we get along well. One in particular, a lieutenant Richard Ware and I have become great friends and have been able to save one another from harm on more than one occasion. I have shown him your drawings and he is mightily impressed.
It is good for you to be growing as well little one. Buttercup will understand.
I hope this reaches you so you can receive my birthday wishes to you. You are entirely correct, whenever birthday wishes arrive they are much appreciated! I hope your eleventh year is a wonderful one.
November 17, 1810
Happy birthday! I have every faith that this letter will reach you because it is your birthday wish letter. I haven’t heard from you in ever so long, but Tibby reminds me that you have much more important work than writing to me. I will endeavor not to be selfish in the wish that you could write me a paragraph or two in spite of the circumstances of your being at war. I will also try to remember that you perhaps have written to me and the letter has just not been able to reach me.
I hope that Richard liked my last drawing of Lucretia. I am getting more and more confident as I ride her. I did finally take a toss and while it knocked the breath from my lungs, I survived the experience and now I don’t have to wait in anticipation of it happening and I know what to expect. I will include a drawing just for him this time.
As you know, if you have received other of my letters, I have made a respectable return on my several investments. I am putting the profits in an account in a bank here in Lincoln, as London is far too distant. Mr. Markham has been very kind in helping me to do so and while he had to put it in the bank in his own name, he has ensured that A.C. Abbingdon is one of the signors on the account. I am not quite sure how that will work in the event I must access the funds, but I expect I can figure it out.
I believe Buttercup is enjoying her retirement. She is getting rather plump, but I have encouraged her to walk along with Lucretia and I (and my groom) as we traverse the countryside. Of course it is getting rather cold and so our rides are of much shorter duration now.
I am reading the papers every day for news of your regiment. I thank God every time there is no news of casualties. I have begun to help at the parish church when ladies get together to wrap bandages to send to the front. Each time I go I feel it is helping you personally even though I know it is unlikely to be so.
My drawing today is of Mr. Markham. He always looks so serious as he sits at his desk and he didn’t even realize I was drawing him as he worked. I must say I think I am getting much better at drawing people. Perhaps one day I will draw a picture of myself so you will finally know what I look like beyond having black curling hair and witch’s eyes.
God Keep You Safe,
December 25, 1810
Happy Christmas. I know that you are having a delightful celebration, even as I write this with all the servants and estate workers. I wish I could join you. Here, they have tried to make a joyous occasion of it, but it is difficult to do when living in tents in the cold rain.
There is not much in the way of goods to buy here, or coin to buy it with. We receive our pay, but only sporadically and they don’t want money from the soldiers to get into the hands of the enemy, so we are deliberately kept cash poor at the front. I have picked up a bit of Spanish lace for you however. I don’t know what you might use it for, but I was thinking of you at Christmas and wanted to gift you with something.
Your drawings are always improving and each one is folded neatly in my pack so that I can enjoy them again and again.
Your prayers are powerful. Keep saying them. Richard tells me to say hello to you.