February 17, 2011
I am writing to you on the occasion of my thirteenth birthday to let you know that this will likely be my final letter to you. I am dying. I hesitate to let you know all of this as I don’t want to further distress you when you are already in such dire circumstances in Spain. However I want you to know what happened to me and that it is not that I have wanted to stop writing to you.
Several days ago I woke up to an awful pain in my back and belly and yesterday blood came from inside of me. I know something very wrong is happening and I don’t want to distress Tibby either. I am stoic. I have kept to my bed letting Tibby know that I am not well, however I cannot tell her about the blood as she will not handle my death well. It is far better that I allow myself to die in my sleep.
Before I do so, however I wanted to let you know that these past few years of our correspondence have been the best of my life. Because of you.
Anastasia Camille Abbingdon
February 28, 2011
By some miracle your letter reached me and I am hopefully able to relieve your mind. You are not dying. You have begun your monthly courses, please talk to Tibby about it. She will be able to explain what you will need to do. All it means is that you are growing up and will soon be a woman.
You will not need to worry about dying for another eighty years at least.
March 19, 1811
I am mortified by my last letter and the panic I felt. Thank you for your explanation. Tibby has given me all the information I need. I still wonder at why God created us to work this way, but as His ways are entirely mysterious, I suppose I should stop trying to understand. Do men have monthly courses as well? It seems like if one sex must go through such misery on a monthly basis, the other should have something appalling as well.
Forget I wrote such a thing. I will not scratch it out as I am wanting to get this letter out in today’s post and I don’t have much time. I must seem an ungrateful wretch. I will gladly go through my monthly courses as you must go through war.
I have written to my trustees that I am now thirteen and as I have begun to learn about financial matters I would like to have a greater understanding about in what state my fortune is. I have yet to hear back from them, but as you know they are not the best correspondents.
We have improvements that we are making on the estate, I have helped Mr. Markham decide where best to spend some of the money we have profited this past year. I am learning all of our tenant’s names and their work on the estate. It is lovely to have some occupation beyond practicing my drawing and pianoforte. I am not at all accomplished on the pianoforte.
I have received a letter from a Miss Delia Ware. She tells me Richard is her brother. How kind of Richard to tell Miss Ware that I might like to have a correspondence with another female. I am not sure how to be a friend to Miss Ware and since she is from Yorkshire it may be difficult to extend friendship beyond that of letter writing. However, I will still try. You and I have become friends in the same way, have we not?
I must close my letter with only a brief sketch this time so that I might get it in today’s post. The kitchen tabby gave birth last week and here she is nursing her five kittens. I think I may keep one for my own when they are ready to be separated from their mother.
Buttercup says hello.
Yours as always,