October 29, 1815
My dear Lady Wentworth,
I am sure you have been waiting impatiently for news of the happenings here at Burton Park. While we have all come to hope for a good outcome of these two silly young people, the actuality of it is enough to even now make my eyes fill with tears of happiness.
Yesterday evening, after most of our guests had left to return to their homes after Delia’s ball, we were a languid party. Lord Ware and the girls had thought to make a game of whist and were setting up the table, working to convince me to make up the fourth when the sound of horses travelling fast up the drive came to our attention.
Lord Ware, unbeknownst to me, had been given some warning of Mr. Rensalaer’s expected arrival. A secretive smile lit his face at the sound of the horses and it was then I knew whose knock we should soon be hearing.
Delia did remarkable work of keeping Anastasia’s attention engaged with the shuffling of the cards and even arranging it so that her back was toward the door. When Mr. Rensalaer was announced, she seemed to freeze like a statue carved of marble. Indeed the color first fled from her cheeks only to come flying back as she stood and turned, knocking over her chair in the process.
Without a word, or a check in his stride, Sinjin came across the room in two steps and grasped Tasha about the waist, twirling her as she laughed and cried and took his face into her hands to look into his eyes. Not a dry eye was in the room. It was as if they were reuniting after long months away rather than it being their first meeting face to face.
And then she said, in that clever joking way she has, “I must be a witch after all for I have conjured you out of thin air.” He simply smoothed the curls which are forever springing free to dance about her face, and said in a way that made even my old heart flutter, “You have bewitched me forever, but you are more a sprite and a fairy than a witch.”
And with that he set her down and in front of us all, knelt to the floor and grasping her hands asked her to marry him. She laughed and pulled him to stand again, and told him, “But of course I will you silly man, I’ve been planning it for years!”
And then he kissed her, heedless of our presence there and I ushered Delia and the Baron from the room for while it was perhaps not proper to leave them on their own, they were going to continue with their conversation and, well, whatever else they saw fit to do, whether we were in the room or not.
This morning, while they are behaving much more circumspectly, they still seem to have eyes only for one another. Every once in awhile I see Tasha running a gentle finger down the puckered scar across Sinjin’s right cheek and jaw. It does not bother him, rather he smiles at her and leans into her touch. I would not be surprised that by some miracle the scar fades with each touch of hers against it.
So, now we are listening to two brides formulate plans for their weddings. The grooms sit nearby, not wanting to leave the presence of their beloveds, talking about whatever may take their fancy and gazing on the girls indulgently. I have a feeling the dates chosen for the weddings will be rather sooner than later.
We do not entertain in any grand style here at the Park, however we would be pleased to have you and the Duke to stay with us if you would like to see how Anastasia and Sinjin go on. Or, if you like, I can send them your way. Just know that wherever one is, so the other will be also.
I know I usually leave little drawings at your breakfast plate each morning, but I decided today to write you instead. Do you remember the letters I wrote you when I was a child? I believe you still have them tucked away somewhere, just as I keep all the letters you ever wrote me in safe keeping as well.
I particularly want you to remember the letter in which I told you of the spring lambs that were being born. You see, we will have a spring lamb of our own being born next year. I cannot express the happiness I feel at this moment and the hopeful expectations I have of bringing more and more happiness to the halls of Witcombe and growing our family.
Who but two orphans could know the sincere importance of belonging, not to a place, no matter how grand, but to other people.
For that is what you have given me all these years, dearest husband. Someone to whom I belonged. I will always belong to you, heart and soul.
Your very own Tasha
I must leave the breakfast table before you come down as the bailiff has some property on the north pasture which has been determined to flood and I must take a look at what possible solutions there might be.
You are my own dear delight and every day as I wake next to you and go to sleep with you cradled in my arms I give thanks that you did not give up on me.
The Duke once told me that we men are much slower to recognize and understand matters of the heart. He spoke nothing less than the truth. You knew we belonged to one another when you were still a scrubby young girl, full of plans and mischief. I am looking forward to our son or daughter who will be full of plans and mischief as well.
I would not have survived the war, nor the aftermath of the war without your brightness and love shining through my darkness.
You will always be my beacon.
Yours only and forever,