February 17, 1812
Thank you for your willingness to explain. You understand perfectly my level of curiosity and what information I need to know. Of course today I am fourteen and so I am looking more and more ahead to my majority. As you mentioned, I will need to look about for a husband before too much longer. When you return from the Peninsula perhaps we can work together to see who might make sense. I of course do not want a fortune hunter on my hands, but I am ready to be entirely practical in my choice of husband.
I have read that the skirmishes in Spain are becoming more and more fierce. Please know that I want you to be alive for my wedding day and to be careful.
I fear Mr. Markham will not last until summertime. He and Tibby and I had a discussion and feel that it is best for the estate that I continue to manage it rather than bringing in someone with little knowledge of Greystone. It seems awful that we are perpetrating a bit of a fraud on the bankers in York and my trustees in London, however we are much like our own little country here and everything works well so why disrupt it?
Buttercup is definitely ageing as well. She doesn’t like to go on the walks with me and Lucretia and more and only wants to either be in her pasture or her stall. Growing up is still hard.
I pray for your continued safety and that of Richard’s as well.
All my best wishes,
April 7, 1812
I have had a remarkable idea. I have been thinking more and more about what you said regarding my choice of husband and it just came to me! Why do not you become my husband? We already know we get along well, and I know that since you are concerned about my husband wanting me to experience pleasure during lovemaking that you would follow through with that. It is such an obvious solution. Since I have been investing some of your money, I also do not have to worry about your being a fortune hunter and when you sell out you will also have your commission funds to put toward whatever we would need. Our relationship is distant enough (I have traced it through the branches of the family tree and we are really only related through marriage and not by blood at all) that there is no concern there either. It seems a perfect solution, don’t you think?
Of course you may be interested in someone much closer to your own age, in fact Tibby was rather stern about this and is now going to monitor my letters. Don’t worry though, I can easily slip a letter out to you without her knowing or reading what is in it. But I will be of age in only seven more years and didn’t Jacob wait twice that long to marry Leah? I can’t remember precisely, I will need to read my Old Testament to be sure. Perhaps you can recall?
Besides that, many young girls marry before their majority, and waiting until one is twenty-one is often considered to be left upon the shelf as they say. At least that is what the periodicals I read from the capitol seem to indicate.
If between now and when I am of marriageable age, which can certainly be before I come of age, perhaps only four more years? You meet a woman whom you feel will suit, please do not think that you must refrain from marriage to her as this letter is not to make any firm promises. I just thought it could be a wonderful solution. Delia thinks that Richard and I would suit as well, so perhaps that is another option. It would be beyond the bounds of propriety for me to begin corresponding with him directly however, so I must wait to see if I agree with Delia on that point until I can meet Richard in person. What do you think?
Life in the country continues just the same. The lambs are darling. Here is another picture of a few. This time without the money falling from their wool.
Stay safe in God’s hands,
July 16, 1812
It has now been three years since you have been in Spain and Portugal and my patience is worn completely thin. I expect yours has as well so rather than complaining of it to you when you have little control over the situation I am determined to be myself. Today it is hard however, so I will just warn you at the outset.
The weather is perhaps to blame. It has been sultry and everywhere I go it just seems to be more and more unbearably hot. Even outside by the stream nearby in the shade of willows it seems hot and sticky. I took off my shoes and bathed my feet in the cool water which helped and wished I could take off more of my clothing and jump in. Perhaps if we are married and it is a hot July we can do so together. Just thinking of such a thing gives me that odd tense feeling in my belly that I had when I saw Lillian and the groom making love in the stable. Do you get such a strange feeling too when you think of such things? It is rather a pleasant feeling and I have decided in private to allow myself to think about it so I can better understand the feeling. Do you think this would be alright?
I think of you in the torrid heat of Spain. The newspapers report that the conditions the soldiers are in are rather awful. I hope that you find some shade and a stream in which to bathe your feet and that perhaps as you do you think of me.
I have decided I would much rather marry you than Richard. I know Delia would like to have me as a sister, but that should not be my primary concern when choosing a life mate. I know you much better than I do Richard and Delia and I can remain friends regardless. I like the thought of your sandy hair and green eyes better than the brown hair and eyes that Delia says Richard has. Perhaps that is superficial of me, but there it is, nonetheless.
I have had a dream of horrible things happening. Please be safe.
Yours as ever,
July 26, 1812
I am devastated to learn of the battle which happened at Salamanca. I have read Richard’s name in the list of casualties and my heart breaks for Delia and for you. I am also selfish enough to be thankful that God spared your life.
I do not know if you will ever receive this letter as I am sure that things are in much confusion immediately after such a major battle campaign. Please know that I am holding you in my heart every second and minute of every day.
Is it not time for you to come home? You have done your duty, let it be another’s turn. I wish I could strike these words out, but know that it would be untruthful to do so, they are what I really think after all.