November 10, 1812
The past two letters I have written have come back to me. I wanted to send you your happy birthday wishes and yet I am afraid this letter will also be returned. I scour the newspapers for word about you and I find nothing. I will continue to do so however, in the event that there is some small piece of information I can glean from them as to your whereabouts.
I have tried again and again to get information from my trustees, and yet they continue to maintain an ominous silence. Mr. Markham is still living, but for all intents and purposes is no longer managing Greystone, I am. I am proud to say that the estate prospers and I have continued to hold back a portion of the estate proceeds for my own investments as well as the improvements on the estate. Everyone is used to me now being the one in charge and none of those here seem to feel it strange in any way that it is a young girl who is making decisions. Well, many of them seem to think I am only an emissary for Mr. Markham and he is still the one who is in charge, and I will not disabuse them of such a notion.
The money you have given me to invest is also increasing. Never fear that when you sell out you will be an impecunious veteran. In fact the interest in my latest investment is compounding at an amazing rate and I feel I will soon need to take the money out as it is becoming alarmingly inflated and I don’t want to see a great reduction in its worth overnight as sometimes happens like a soap bubble bursting.
I have begun to wear my hair up, mostly to keep it out of my way as I work, but it also makes me feel more grown up. You have not commented on my thoughts regarding our marrying one another and I guess you either never saw those letters or think it an absurd idea. Please let me know which since I would like to know how to plan for my future. Do not be concerned for my feelings as I do not think they will be affected any great deal one way or the other for I plan on continuing our friendship and correspondence regardless of whom I marry.
Even if it is just a line, please send me word of your continued safety.
Your own Tasha
February 17, 1813
I saw a notice in the paper that you have sold out. I am so happy to know this! Why could you not have written me to tell me yourself? I expect there are many activities surrounding such a decision, and you have been busy with those. Once such duties have lessened, please take a moment to write to me so that I know you are well and where to direct my next letter.
As you are aware, today is my birthday. I am now fifteen. I have included my latest self-portrait so that you can see how changed I am. Actually I am not really much changed as I still have black curling hair and the golden eyes of a witch. I have become more appreciative of the unusual color of my eyes however and one of the village children I would have turned into a frog had I been able to was a bit struck by them at the harvest festival last September. He in fact wanted to kiss me, but I was able to avoid such a pretension on his part.
I have heard from Delia, she and her parents are of course still devastated by Richard’s death, but he has been awarded a medal of valor posthumously for acts of bravery in battle. Why did you not tell me he died whilst preventing your own death? He deserves every honor and accolade for such a thing. I imagine it is very painful for you to speak of and so I will let it be. Just know that I love your friend for having saved your life.
Mr. Markham died last week. Tibby and I have worked to keep the news from getting more generally about as we need to made the transition between his running the estate and A.C. Abbingdon running the estate. I have written to the trustees that A.C. Abbingdon is a distant relative who was trained under Mr. Markham to run the estate’s business and will in a month or two write them as A.C. Abbingdon regarding the passing of Mr. Markham and my taking over as steward of Greystone.
Once you have adjusted to life as a civilian I would so dearly love to have you come to Greystone for a visit. Please do not think that I will any more concern myself with ideas of our marrying. I am guided by your silence on the matter.
November 10, 1813
Happy Birthday! It has been so long since I have heard from you. I wonder at it. I know my chatty letters of the boring life of Lincolnshire cannot compete with the wonderful sights and happenings in London, but I must admit to being rather miffed at you. Where has my kind correspondent gone?
Oh well, enough of the scolding, I am sure you need not experience that from me. I have wondered at the sums of money you have removed from the account which I have been putting the profits of your investments in. I understand if you need some principal to make further investments, but let me know what those are so that I can let you know if they are wise decisions. I am loathe to remind you that you once let me know my knowledge and expertise far exceeds yours in this area and would not like to see you under the hatches due to a poor investment I could have helped you prevent.
I have decided to soon come to London. Tibby is now in agreement with me as I have not heard from my trustees in over a year. If it were not for my own management of Greystone and the investments I have made on my own behalf I fear we would be in dire straits indeed. No money has come in from any of the investments they have made in over three years and I would like to point out to them the errors they are making. Also, they are being rather lax in ensuring there is enough money sent from the proceeds of the estate to continue its efficient running. I will contact them as A.C. Abbingdon of course. I am not stupid. No man would like to hear from a girl of fifteen that they are making poor decisions.
That is not why you have decided not to write me is it? I sincerely hope not. I actually can’t believe it of you now that I think on it because you have been so accepting of my wanting to keep myself educated on any number of topics. I imagine I will continue to do so throughout my life. I also plan to come to London to seek out a sponsor to help me make my debut in society. It is a couple of years away yet, but I like to know ahead of time what things I need to plan for.
I will let you know the date of my arrival so that we can arrange a meeting. I will of course set a location at the park or somewhere like that since visiting a bachelor would be beyond the pale from my understanding. I will likely wait until the spring when the weather will be more suitable for travelling.
I truly hope you find a wonderful way of celebrating your birthday.