Posted on 2011-07-18
Miss A. E. ---
I have faced dangerous enemies, but never have I needed courage more than today that I take up my pen to write to you.
From the day I first saw you, my heart has been yours for the asking. I have nothing else I could give you, apart from my troth, my constancy and myself, but what little I have I offer to you.
You may say that our acquaintance has been too short to progress so rapidly, but I had not known you a week when I knew that there could not be a woman more perfect for me. Did you not know that? You cannot have failed to understand that for the past month, I have but lived for the hours I spent with you.
You alone bring a smile to my face; for your happiness I will gladly take responsibility if you will but let me.
Dare I hope that your feelings are similar? Do not say that I have deceived myself, that your hand was never mine to win.
Wonderful, amazing Anne! Say you will have a poor sailor, and know that you will find a true and constant attachment in
Captain Wentworth ---
With a trembling hand, I pick up my hand to answer your letter that was found on my doorstep this morning; the heavens alone know how it got there.
I am overpowered by the sentiments evoked in your letter. Every time I read it again - and I did, so many times - I found myself overwhelmed once more by the attentions which you are bestowing on me. If I am the perfect woman for you, it is only because there is no one who would suit me more, no one who would be a better companion for me, than you.
Truly, Captain, you know me, you know how little I care about material comforts, for I have learned that they do not a happy marriage make. What I ask for is mutual respect and understanding, and now I find that I shall have that, and so much more, with you.
What feelings you have avowed for me, are mirroring mine - my hand was yours from the moment you first took it, that day at the parsonage.
Yes, I will have you, gladly, and I will count myself blessed for it.
My dearest Miss Elliot ---
Or rather, my most wonderful Anne, if I may be so bold - I would come to see you in person, just to see your face, when you tell me, once again, that you will have me. You cannot understand how much it meant to me to read those words, in your own precious hand, and know that you meant them, with all your heart - but still, to hear them from your own lips, would be such a thing as I until quite recently never dared to hope for.
Alas, however, the watchful dragons overseeing your rooms have declared your cold not yet healed, and would not let me see you, so once again I must contrive to let this missive find its way into your hands. You have wondered how I succeeded to do so the first time, and it pains me that I cannot be completely honest with you, but a gentleman cannot compromise his honour; and to tell you would be breaking an earnest promise I made.
Dearest Anne, do let me know how you fare - you managed to get the last letter through to me, but not one word, one syllable about your precious health was in it - I am beginning to worry. Please let me know if you are hale.
I long for the day that I can take your hand once more, knowing, this time, that it is mine, and that I can give you the hand that will be yours always.
Dear Captain ---
Please do not worry on my account; I promise, it is only a cold. I do hope that I shall soon be able to leave my bed, but as it is, I find myself too weak still to be up for a longer time. My spirits, however, could not be higher, especially after receiving your letter, which lit up my otherwise dreary day.
I still cannot quite believe that such exquisite happiness shall be mine in the very near future, that I shall be able to spend my life with you and know you will treasure my heart always. For the moment, I take excessive delight in our communications, clandestine as they may be, but how I long for the day when I can take your arm in front of my family and friends, and proudly declare that I belong to you, and none other.
They may care for riches, and stations, but I cannot; I could not, when the only place where I want to be is at your side, and I will tell my father exactly that. I know that he will not be happy, but I do not care for his opinion, for he does not see what I see so plainly; that my life shall be all the better for having you in it. So when you speak to him - as I know you soon must - know that whatever the outcome of that communication, I could not be happier to become your wife, and let not his disapproval of our union hinder your enjoyment of it.
My wonderful Anne ---
always so practical! Thinking about the interview I must face when I had not yet spared a thought on it; my thoughts were, as they are at all times, with you. I tried to picture you as you read my letter - did your eyes get that delightful gleam as they always do when something interests you? I hope they did, and that it was not only the heat of the fever that has you in its clutches. Did you wrinkle your nose as you do when you find a mistake in what you read - is my spelling so very bad? Or is your poor nose too red now to properly wrinkle, when normally, it does so with exquisite grace.
My poor dear, here I joke about your illness, and trust your assurances that you shall be well soon - do let me know if there is cause for me to worry, for then I will stop my joking at once.
Words can hardly express how touched I was by your letter - to know that I mean so much to you, much more even than I had ever hoped for! This abysmal scrawl can hardly replace what I would tell you, could I see you in person, but such words I can hardly utter, much less commit to paper, for merely thinking them makes my ears burn and I shall look as feverish as you do now. You have already made me the happiest of man, and if, as they say, this is only the beginning, then our life shall be blissful indeed.
You know I cannot offer you riches, but I promise you know that I will give all my efforts to ensure that we shall lead a comfortable life; there is money to be had out there on the seas for those quick enough to grab it and be assured that where it is to make certain that we shall have comfort, I shall not hesitate.
My dear Captain ---
Was that a hint? Very well then. I shall call you Frederick. If you picture me reading your letters, you may imagine me blushing a little now, as I say that precious name while I carefully write it - how often have I sighed your name when I knew no one could hear me, but now it is all the dearer to me for knowing that you wish to hear it. Frederick - I struggle for words to express my feelings just as much as you do, or maybe even more, for the very idea of words that make your ears burn (your poor ears! I do hope they are not hurt, for I always admired their shape) makes me blush even more fervently. And yet, with you, in the privacy of these letters, I feel secure enough to utter these thoughts, for I know you will not censor me for their forwardness.
Do not worry on my account, the cold is but a trifle. I was sitting at the window for half an hour today, observing the garden, wondering if, perhaps, I should see an all too familiar, all too dear shape make his way to the kitchen doors - but then Nurse found me and promptly scolded me back to bed. You are right though, I look like a fright. My nose is red and swollen, and my eyes are feverish. It is perhaps better that you cannot see me now, for surely the sight of it would make you retract your promises. I trust, however, that I shall be better soon. Your letters help my recovery very much.
Frederick (how I delight in writing your name) - I hate being practical. I would much rather not think about anything like that at all, but we must think about what comes next. You must speak with my father - I hate asking that of you - I would not have this communication continue forever, precious as it is to me, without knowing that we have permission to do so. I know father will not approve of the match, but I do not think he will forbid it. Once that is dealt with, we can let our family and friends know - those we know will actually be happy for us - and soon, very soon, we shall be married. Where shall we live? I must confess I do not quite know what possibilities there are, but whatever place you choose, I know I shall be happy there, for it shall be our home. You write that there are chances for men who are quick enough, but do not ever place my unimportant comfort above your safety - I could not bear to lose you.
Dearest, wonderful Anne ---
My poor, ill Anne - do you not know that the size or colour of your nose could not alter one jot about my feelings for you? Besides, I am sure that it is still adorable. Also, my dear, do not think that I would give up the secret of how I achieve this communication so easily - although, now that I know you are watching for me, maybe I will sneak through the gardens soon. Which is your window, so that I know whither to lift my hat? And when I do, I will imagine that you called my name from your lofty seat. I am sure my name has never felt as cherished as it shall be when I hear you speak it for the first time.
I have not yet given thought to the question of where we shall live; I am sure something will come up. My sister will be returning from the Indies soon. I have thought about suggesting to her that you and her rent a house together while Captain Croft and I are away. Do not worry, the two of you will like each other very much, she is a very pleasant woman, even if she is my sister. The way this war is going, promotion, no doubt, shall come my way soon and I will be able to buy a home for us, if recognition comes my way. I have made good money before, but, not knowing I should meet you, I spent it as light-heartedly as I earned it - but do not worry, we shall have a home soon. It may be a small home, but it will be ours, and it will be the place where we have our own family.
I count the days until that time when we move into our little cottage by the sea, and I count the hours until I shall finally hear your voice again, see your precious face - when will that be?
You are the world for me.
Dearest Frederick ---
I can hardly say how much your words mean to me. Scarcely have I ever felt so protected as I am in your affection; nothing has ever made me feel as treasured as your letters do. How, then, will I feel when finally, we can see each other again? I cannot tell. I may faint, so please be quick and catch me, I would not want to hurt my poor head, which is hurting enough as it is.
You are so much to me, Frederick - you speak so lightly of war and promotion, but I know that there is risk involved, and great danger. You must not risk your health and safety for my comfort. We will find a solution, I am sure of it. Once we have spoken to father, we shall see clearer. I have money of my own; he cannot deny me that. Lady Russell too has always been my friend and I know that if we have need, she will help us out.
Oh, how I hate that we must trouble ourselves with practicalities. I hate being practical, truly, I do. I would so much rather not worry about anything, but I cannot. It is not in my nature. You must be the one who will distract me when I worry too much; you must take my mind off my worries and tell me to enjoy life, as you have shown me so very often these past weeks.
I so wish that we could discuss all these questions directly, but nurse has said I am still not fit to get up, and the truth is that I can still feel it in my legs that I cannot stand up for a long time. Ah, Frederick, you are settling for a woman who has the bones of one twice her age, or so it feels! If I can stand up again today, I will hang my muslin shawl to my window. Think of me when you see it flutter in the wind.
You make the world turn for me.
My most wonderful Anne ---
Do not worry about your legs, we will yet make a sailor of you. Once you have stood on a ship and felt the turn of the tide, your legs will never let you down. I know - I always said that I would not have a woman on any ship I commanded - but now I find that for you, I would gladly make an exception. When one stands at the helm of a ship in the middle of the ocean and watches the sun rise - when slowly, the whole world turns pink and orange, and there is an indescribable peace around - that is one of the most sublime, most beautiful moments that nature shares with us humble creatures, and I would be a scoundrel indeed if I did not wish for you to share it with me. One of these days, Anne, you and I will set sails together, you just wait.
I am resolved now to speak with your father tomorrow. I had wanted to put it off until you are well again, but I believe that all this worrying about the future is doing you harm. I do not want to quarrel with you in a letter, but I must say this: I will not beg for my livelihood, not even my family or yours. We will take what is rightfully ours, and nothing else. But enough of these technicalities, we will know more about our prospects when I have spoken to your father and we can make plans then.
Dearest Anne, you may yet see me from your lofty seat, but I will not sneak to the kitchen doors anymore. I will knock on the front door tomorrow and demand an audience with your father; I do not particularly look forward to it, but if it is the price I have to pay so I can have you by my side for all interviews that I must face in the future, I will pay it gladly.
Soon, very soon, Anne, we will face all difficulties together, and no one will be able to separate us.
Dear Frederick ---
I heard what happened. Elizabeth came upstairs directly after you had left, and told me all in great, gloating detail. She does not understand us and has no wish to, I suppose. I do not know what to say - truly, it is not so very bad, is it? He did not outright forbid it, did he?
Oh, Frederick, what will happen now? What will we do? I want to be with you, I want to be your wife, so very much, but how will it be possible? I am confused, and I miss you so much - I would so love to talk with you about it, instead of being reduced to this insufficient quill and paper, that cannot properly express how much you mean to me, nor how I worry about us.
Maybe - if I asked father to invest my dowry until the time I come of age and we married then? Oh, I would not like to have to wait for so long, but if he is reluctant to give me my dowry now, could this placate him?
I truly do not know what to think. Lady Russell is coming to see me later today - I suppose father wants her to dissuade me, but I will be firm - I hope she will be more sympathetic - I hope she will be able to help us. I know what you said about not wanting to beg - I understand you, truly, I do - but if begging is our only hope?
Frederick, would that I could see you now! That I could take your hands and hear you tell me that all will be well. It will be well, will it not?
Anne, dearest ---
Do not worry, all will be well. I promise it, all will be well. We will not need your father's dowry, nor your aunt's alms - we will be able to make do, whatever happens. Whatever adversities come our way, we will face them together, and we will be stronger for it. Do not allow them to make you think otherwise - we will be able to make it, this I know.
I curse this paper and this pen as much as you do! It simply cannot convey what I mean to tell you. When I am with you - when finally I shall be able to be with you again - money and stations and titles mean nothing to me. There is only you and me, and only that must count. I cannot wait for our life to begin. Do not say that we must wait for another two years; it is not true. We can begin our life now, we will find a way.
When can I see you, so that this sailor can convince you of the depth of his feelings?
Captain Wentworth ---
This is the hardest letter I have ever had to write, but it must be.
I release you from your promises to me. It breaks my heart to do so, but I am now convinced that it is for the best of both of us. It was wonderful to think we could make it happen, but it was foolish. It cannot be.
I will always cherish the time I had with you, and will consider myself happy among women for it, but the time for dreams is now over.
The world is not set for our match and it would be foolish to think we could change the way things are; we cannot. We both have responsibilities we have neglected for too long. I should never have asked of you to lay them aside for my comforts; it was not right and I regret putting you in such a situation.
I know that this parting must be forever and you cannot know how much pain it gives me. Believe me, I am acting out of the conviction that both you and I will ultimately be happier for it.
I wish you well - I wish you all the happiness in the world, and I hope that one day you will understand me.
God bless you.
Anne Elliot.The End