June 27, 1919
I trust that all is well. Pray tell, are you enjoying London? Your last letter brought me a great deal of comfort and I reread your words, frequently, especially on gloomy days. Truthfully, all days are gloomy, as late. How I miss your wit and companionship, Sister. The nights are dreadfully long. Poetry brings its comforts, but I miss the sound of your pen scratching harmoniously alongside mine.
The clock is crass and full of spite,
It bustles like a bee,
Hours pass, I can barely write
For you are far from me.
I envy your sojourn, despite its gravity. Cousins Annabel and Dorette must be missing their mother. Are you enjoying your new role as governess? You are ever so accommodating, Sweetling, and I worry your new charges will run you ragged. Still, after their loss, your warmth should be a consolation during this difficult time.
Father’s health continues to decline and mother’s main concern, oddly, is to find me a suitor. Apparently, eligible men of an esteemed background, high moral character and certain affluence are a rarity in this county. I’d rather tramp through pigsties than face another long look and braying compliment, Heaven help me.
Our Mr. Brown drowns in stale ale
But Mr. Green is poor
Now Mr. White is pale and frail,
So please show them the door!
I am currently reading Beeton's The Complete Etiquette for Women, a guide to womanly arts. It is difficult to read these passages with a straight face. Truthfully, its author believes that ladies should at all times conduct themselves with the highest degree of decorum, even in their most private thoughts. Oh, it is vastly diverting!
What would he make of our capriciousness?
We are creatures who can not be so narrowly constrained nor defined. A woman’s heart is easily moved by the wonders of our maker, and a woman’s mind is often sharper, wiser than the male of our species. Why must we be so restricted?
The garden is in full bloom, now, and I comfortably slip between rows of roses and ladyslippers. I wandered the path, amused at page after page of virtuous advice, keeping myself poised while within I was bouncing like a peony. Oh, the air was heady with lavender, and the sun was, finally, obliging. Several cheery nuthatches decided to keep me company. It was such a spiritual moment, as though nature itself had built a church with blossom archways, a sanctuary of greenery and horizons. I was alone, and yet, felt the presence of divinity.
Sweet solitude, a gift for me
to piously applaud,
With gratitude I joyfully
spend precious time with God.
Molly, Dear, write when you can. I miss you terribly and, be merciful, send me some of your newest verses, please? Be happy, stay hopeful and I will strive to do the same.
* A westernized conversion of the Japanese haibun, which contain haiku instead of quatrains. I chose to try something new.