August 12, 1866
It was truly beautiful today, my love. We had waited days to walk out to the fields to pick strawberries, but we did not regret the wait when we saw the flowers. Oh, my dear, they were radiant--more colors than I could ever count. When we arrived home, I helped Mama can them--we shall have jam until the end of time, I fear.
Oh, this weather is truly glorious. Do you remember, my love, the day that you and I walked to the little round pond, and rowed into the center and just drifted... left the world behind for hours, just you and I and the little birds singing in the trees... I miss you more with each day. Is the city as beautiful as our beloved countryside? Find enclosed the socks I knitted you, for the chill winter. All my love,
September 3, 1866
Actually, I'm rather cross with you, my love, for not having replied to my last letter. I know, dearest, you're so busy, but surely you can spare five minutes to write me a dear little letter to tell me you're well? I hope that the socks keep your feet warm, as a letter from you would warm my heart. But there, I'm being unkind. Forgive me, beloved, but I do miss you so.
My dear, I'm beginning to think that my sister suspects. She heard my illness this morning--I told her I have the flu, but she seems to doubt it. Darling, come home soon--I'm so frightened, my dear. Please, write me; tell me you stil love me. All my love,
October 22, 1866
Oh, where are you, my love? Have my letters reached you? Please, darling, write me.
My sister knows, darling. She caught me on my way out of the powder room, and confronted me, guessing (correctly). She has promised not to tell Mama, but I'm frightened, my dear. You promised to come take me away--please come soon; I can't stay here when I start showing signs. Oh, help me, love, bring me to the city where we can live peacefully, married, as you promised.
I miss you, darling. Please, love, come back to me. All my love,
December 24, 1866
I type this while avoiding a party--the annual Christmas Eve ball, in fact. I feigned illness so Mama would not make me go. Dearest, I couldn't go--it would have revealed my condition. You swore to me, beloved, that you wouldn't abandon me. You promised you'd have come for me by now--where are you?
Help me, beloved. Please. Come back. All my love,
January 29, 1867
This is the last letter I will write you. It is clear to me that you will not come home. You left me deliberately, dear one, you couldn't risk sullying your reputation by fathering an illegitimate child.
Know that, despite this, I have always and shall always love you. And you'll be free, won't you, when I am dead? Be happy, my dear one. Goodbye, for the final time. If you would send word to my sister and mother, I would be grateful. Tell them they will find me in the pond we so loved. Tell them I love them, that it is not their fault. All my love,