My dear Sophy,
Warmest greetings from the high seas! Our short journey to Italy for our wedding trip is certainly nothing when compared to the voyages you have undertaken with the Admiral over the years, but it is my first trip abroad and I find myself eager to learn the life of which ones I hold dear speak so highly.
You were correct that I felt somewhat ill at first, but I find that I discovered my sea legs quite before I expected to, and now I cannot think of anything more grand than walking the decks with Frederick each afternoon. Your brother is teaching me nautical terms; I cannot say I have learnt many yet, but I endeavor to learn as much as I am able - and quickly! I do believe I could quite become accustomed to a life at sea, as you did with the Admiral. The sea air is so marvelously refreshing. I feel as though I am once again young and free.
All my best wishes to the you and the Admiral. I look forward to welcoming you to our home when we are settled, as you have welcomed me into yours.
Your loving sister,
I did not post my letter immediately upon our arrival in Italy, and I am glad for it now, as I can tell you that the countryside is magnificent! Quite unlike anything I have seen in England, although I have not had much opportunity to travel. Now that I have seen lands beyond the counties where I have lived all my life, I long to hear even more tales of your days sailing with the Admiral. I do hope you will indulge me one day!
Tomorrow, we return home to begin our lives together in earnest. Although I have treasured every moment of our wedding trip and am delighted that you have discovered your desire to sail with me should the opportunity arise in the future, I have found the greatest joy possible in looking forward to a future with you at my side in all things.
When I think of all that has happened to bring us here, of all the ways my own foolish pride might have prevented it, I cannot help but thank the providence that has allowed for our current happy situation. It is as though every moment I suffered before has brought even more joy to me in the present. I do not regret even the years lost to us, for they have made each day we share one that I treasure. I remain ever constant in my affections, your husband -
My Dear Anne,
I received your letter noting that you have settled in a rented property only a day’s journey from Kellynch. I do hope your new home is one befitting of an Elliot; it is enough that the property should be leased, but that is what one must settle for if she does not marry a gentleman. Louisa and Captain Benwick have done the same. Henrietta and Charles Hayter, of course, have settled in the living he was granted. I do so wish the living afforded more distance between Charles Hayter and Uppercross, but that is my cross to bear. It is fortunate that I have such a temperament as to permit the frequent visits of Henrietta and Louisa, particularly when I myself am not permitted to travel as I should have liked.
And I should have liked to travel quite immensely! It is a shame that my Husband did not offer to take me on an extended wedding trip such as Yours. I am certain no one should have enjoyed the Italian countryside as much as I should have, and although I may have taken ill on the voyage, as everyone says I should have, no one else bears illness with such grace. I do not know why the Musgroves are always saying I am often taken ill for no reason! They do not understand how I suffer in silence for my Husband’s sake, and for the children. That is one thing you must know, my dear Anne, about having a husband. Husbands cannot be troubled with trivial Illnesses and debilitations, and they should not like their time wasted unless you are in grave need!
I have a great deal of marital wisdom which I shall impart to you upon your next visit to Uppercross. You must learn from my years of experience, for there is nothing of married life about which I cannot speak with great authority.
I have sent this along with Mrs. Croft, as she is to visit you at your new home. I waited several days after I learned of her planned trip before she paid her respects at Uppercross and offered to relay messages on my behalf. I do not know how she has not learned the proper procedure to date, but you should discuss this with her now that you are Sisters. It is unbecoming of the tenants of Kellynch Hall not to know the respect that is due to me as an Elliot, and as your Sister! I further do not understand why the Admiral and Mrs. Croft should be among your first visitors at your new home, when I am your sister and feel it most keenly that someone else should be invited when I do so long to go! It is most unfair that Charles will not permit the visit. He will not permit even another visit to Bath; it is just my luck that I am not to visit dear Father and Elizabeth now that Lady Dalrymple and her party are in Town! I have heard the parties are dining together at least once a week! How dreadful not to be included - again, but that is is my lot in life.
With great regrets I must relay to you, my love, that I will be delayed a day in Town sorting the papers which may result in obtaining settlement of Mrs. Smith’s late husband’s investment. I should not wish to delay my return for any reason; having been away from our home for the past week has been long enough! Yet I have given my word to Mrs. Smith that we will assist her, and I gave my word to you. I do not wish to disappoint the faith you have put in me, to be the advocate she needs to set things right. Mrs. Smith has been a dear friend to you, and as such, she will always be the dearest of friends to me as well.
Know that every moment I am away from you, my desire to return to you only grows. The thought of you waiting in our home warms me; I find it is the only motivation I need to work quickly, so that soon I may find myself once again -
Your devoted husband,
Please inform the Crofts that we will not be able to attend the Christmas dinner-party at Kellynch. We are quite taken with Bath and intend to remain there for the holiday. It does some credit to the Crofts to remember from whom they rent Kellynch; yet it would not be appropriate for us to accept an invitation to a dinner-party hosted by a naval man and his wife - nay, to attend it - when we are expecting an invitation from Lady Dalrymple any day now. Of course, do not tell the Crofts this.
Best to you, etc.-
Miss E. Elliot
On this first day of the new year, I am once again taken by how much our lives have changed since we first saw each other those fateful days at Uppercross last fall. Now, just a short year later, our lives are entwined, inextricably and forever. To think, even last year at Christmas, we supposed ourselves to be indifferent to one another! I have celebrated many holidays at Kellynch and Uppercross, and last year in Bath, but I do believe this year’s merriment has far surpassed any previous year’s simply because you are with me.
Dear Mrs. Smith,
I must apologize for my silence, however brief it may have been. The Christmas holidays have been filled with a great deal of joy and merriment, first at Kellynch and Uppercross; then with Frederick’s brother Edward, whose wife is in the period of her confinement. However, that does not excuse my failure to write. I must admit that I simply hoped to delay my letter until I could post it along with one from my Husband, once the news of your husband’s settlement had been confirmed. In doing so, I did not anticipate the slight delay. I hope that you can forgive me, as now I my joy increases tenfold at your own happy news!
Frederick has, of course, written to you of the details of the settlement at great length! I shall not bother you to go over them once more, as I trust you have already committed them to memory. I shall limit myself to relaying my great joy that the settlement is even more than we expected; you shall have nothing but comfort now, knowing that your dear late husband has provided for you after all!
I do not wish to bore you with the details of my Christmas holidays when I can discuss all of this in person on our visit to Bath at the end of the month. I shall, however, relay the one piece of news that cannot wait. The holiday was quite a noisy one at Uppercross with Mary and the children, and I do believe next year’s holiday, if we are invited to join, will be gay and noisier still!
Frederick and I have finally departed from his brother’s and returned home. I love Frederick’s family with all of my heart; but I must admit, among friends, that it is equally wonderful to return to one’s own home after a period away, as it is to enjoy an extended holiday with a family that has welcomed you with warmth, goodwill, and superiority of mind and character. To the latter, I treasured every moment of our holiday; I do believe that the truly lucky among us may experience both within the same trip. Some days, I admit I still am adjusting myself to the knowledge that I am so truly blessed!
I eagerly await our next trip, however! Although I have never favored Bath, I do long to see you again. You are, of course, always welcome in our home; you are as much family to us as any brother or sister could be! I remain -
I am certain you are wondering why I have left a note for you when I am still home, but leaving notes has become something of a tradition for you; I do not wish to break with that tradition simply because this note is more practical than others.
I hope your outing with Captain Harville has been a pleasant one! It was such a happy surprise to find him in Bath at the same time as us! I am quite warming up to Bath now, for all the wonderful memories it holds, that I almost do not mind our obligation to attend one dinner-party with my father and Elizabeth tonight. It is that obligation that causes me to pen this note to you; I find I am quite fatigued and require a short rest before we must make our appearance this evening. I am certain I shall be quite refreshed and shall see you later this afternoon.
I am delighted to hear your happy news! Although I was not blessed with children myself, you have always been as dear to me as any daughter could be. In the past twelve months, I have seen you settled and happy, and now expecting your own child. The only person who could express more joy than myself would be your own dear mother. I find myself thinking of her often, as I am certain you do, and I still feel her loss immensely. Though it does no good to dwell on sorrow in joyous times such as these, I do wish to remember and honor her by standing in her place and offering my sincerest congratulations, my dearest child!
I do have one further piece of information to divulge with my felicitations. It seems your sister, Miss Elizabeth, has acquired another companion since your recent departure. I have learned from an acquaintance who has recently removed to Bath that her new companion is one Mrs. Brown, recently out of mourning. I do not wish to speculate on the designs of this Mrs. Brown, but I will say that I certainly hope your father and Miss Elizabeth have learned from their past experiences. I can do no further for them but wish for the best; I simply thought you should be apprised of the situation.
I look forward to seeing you in a fortnight at Easter. All my best to you and Captain Wentworth both, my child.
Can it be only one year since you made me the happiest of men? I dare say I am happier now than I was this day a year ago, happier now than when you accepted a humbled man’s proposal and renewed your affections to a man whose own affections had only grown, oftentimes without knowledge or intention. I hope, in our first year together, I have shown myself to be steadfast and constant in my attachment, in my joy at making you my partner in all things this life may have to offer us.
When I first came to Bath last spring, I could hardly have hoped for things to turn out this well. Too kind, too generous you have always been; I can only aspire to emulate your goodness. I have held many titles throughout my career in the navy; yet the title I cherish most is that of your Husband. I remain yours, in heart and in mind, always devoted -