May 5, 1815
35 St. James Pl, London
Dear Captain Rensalaer,
We expect the arrival of your young cousin, Miss Anastasia Abbingdon on the morrow. Although the season is in full swing I have no doubts the duchess will be able to fire Miss Abbingdon off into society. There has been some noteriety already attached to her affaires as the events following your introduction to Mssrs. Everett and Cooper have not gone unnoticed.
I will keep you up to date on her affairs as you have requested. I do wonder at your interest and whether you are being genuine when you tell me it is due to familial responsibility. However, I respect you enough to manage your own life and motives as you see fit.
The Duke of Wentworth
May 7, 1815
35 St. James Pl., London
I can hardly believe the turn my life has taken. I no longer am in the wilds of Lincolnshire, a forgotten orphan, I am now ensconced in the home of the Duke of Wentworth and being squired to modistes and milliners to outfit me for my first London season. It is all too fantastical!
I believe in my last letter to you I wrote that Capt. Rensalaer somehow brought my former trustees to an understanding of the error of their ways. I now have more information and it seems he did so by physically accosting them! I would have wholly enjoyed such a sight after the significant violation of my and my father’s trust in them. Taking such advantage of an orphan, can you imagine. It is only through my own offices that the estate was not devastated by their theft. I recommend to you Delia to learn as much as possible regarding your own finances, do not leave it wholly in another’s hands.
So, now I am embarking on a new adventure in my life. I have little knowledge of society, and feel no matter how fashionable I am turned out I will still feel like the little orphan girl on the steps of her village church being called a witch because of my strange eyes.
I am sure you realize by now that I am determined to have Mr. Rensalaer as my husband. Ever since I was a young girl he has been the only one, other than Tibby of course, who has even tried to understand me. Also, since I have already been the one improving his own fortunes (little does he know that he did not actually gamble away his entire principle, but I rescued it and removed it to a different account and reinvested it) I know he could not be considered a fortune hunter by any means.
I know he is still feeling the impact of his time in Spain. I have informed Sgt. Rountree that I have been developing a plan. It is now time to put that plan into motion. I believe Mr. Rensalaer is assuming that the duchess will have no problems finding me a husband this season. I know he is wrong in that assumption, simply because I will marry no other. I have loved him nearly all my life I now realize and I could never bring myself to marry someone else.
In order for him to begin to heal, I think he needs to be amongst others who will understand the pain of his loss. Not only of the use of his arm, but also his dear friend. It is with much presumption I truly understand to ask this of you, but could your parents find it possible to invite him to visit you? Your family knows what has been lost by Richard’s death, and so does Mr. Rensalaer. I feel it could lift some of the burden he takes upon himself.
If you feel it would be too painful for yourself or for Baron and Lady Ware, please forget I have even asked such a thing and I will mention it no more.
I have used this entire letter to go on and on only about myself. I apologize. Please tell me all about how you and your parents fare, I will not be so self-centered in my next letter.
Yours as always,
June 1, 1815
Burton Park, West Sussex
What an exciting life you do lead! Coming out under the wing of a duchess is no small matter I do believe. You will have to describe to me the balls and routs you are attending. You have not sent me a drawing lately either so I request one showing me you in all your finery.
Father is much improved. Having my cousin Francis to stay with us to learn the ways of the estate has been oddly restorative to him. I know he misses Richard daily, however the activity of teaching one who is eager to learn of his inheritance is good for him. Mother feels Francis and I would suit, but we have come to a firm agreement that we should not. Francis is kind and earnest, however, just as you have determined on a marriage of your own making, I too have determined just such a thing. I will tell you more at a later date when I have figured out just how to go about bringing it about.
I did want to ask you your thoughts on whether an invitation to Mr. Rensalaer to spend a week here with our family might not be such a good idea? I trust your judgement on this, and even though Mr. Rensalaer is proving to be quite recalcitrant toward you, you know him as well as anyone I believe. I think it would be helpful to mother and father to be with someone with whom Richard spent so much time in the last years, indeed moments, of his life. I hesitate to bring more pain into the life of someone who, as I have learned from your letters, has suffered greatly already. If he is now beginning to make improvements on his own, I wonder if remembering the past will cause more harm than good.
Please let me know, as I would not want to cause Mr. Rensalaer more pain inadvertently.
Your dearest friend,
June 12, 1815
Today is a day we are “at home to visitors” as the duchess says, which really means the door is never quiet and it is difficult to round together five minutes in which to write you.
You are the dearest and best of friends and I find it maddening that we have yet to meet in person. Perhaps a trip to London would be beneficial to your mother? and of course you would need to accompany her! I know it is unlikely to be any time soon, however as you have your own scheme toward marriage in mind (I am determined to be patient until you are ready to reveal more, and am only glad that you cannot see my drumming fingertips when I think of your secrecy).
As to the question you posed in your last letter, I think a visit to your home would be just the thing for Sinjin. Whether or not he thinks so is a much different matter. If your family does extend an invitation to him, do not be surprised or pained if he refuses the invitation. I have let Sgt. Rountree know of the possibility of an upcoming invitation and he has indicated to me (through Tibby of course) that he will do all in his power to ensure Sinjin accepts it. He is stubborn however, and there are no guarantees.
Enclosed is my latest drawing. I cannot help but view the ton as the popinjays they are, so you shall see me amidst a flock of them, all colorful and concerned with their own feathers rather than anything real and meaningful.
And now I must close as another flock of them has come to roost in the duchess’ drawing room.