Chapter Nine: Writing (part one)

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2 September, 1878.

Dear Anne, Maria, Liza, and Jane-

I didn't go back to Denver when I left after Emma's wedding. Well, I suppose I did, as the train went through the city, but I didn't get off when it stopped. Instead, I went on to California. I know it's been such a long time since I talked to you- or wrote, rather- and I just wanted to make sure you knew where I was. Don't you dare come looking for me. California is a large state and San Francisco a large city.  I suppose I shouldn't have told you about the city I live in.

All threats aside, however, I've written to inform you fully about my goings- on in the past year (goodness, has it really been that long?) while I was in Denver. Well, not fully, but the general happenings.

As soon as I got to Denver, I ran into a young man on the train. His name is Keith Little and since none but Anne have heard the story, I shall tell it again. Stop rolling your eyes, Anne. I know you were doing that. Now stop laughing. Read to the girls.

His father owns a general store in Denver, on 5th Street, and knew of a boardinghouse across the way. So you see that he was a great help to me- I quickly found a place to stay and worked in his father's store. However, things got... complicated as I realized, quite plainly, that I had fallen in love with Keith. It seemed that he'd fallen for me too... oh, the flutters of the heart I get just thinking about it! Perhaps, in years to come, you three will realize what love feels like; Anne already knows. (Anne loves Charles! Anne loves Charles!) I haven't heard much about a wedding, though, so maybe she doesn't fully understand...

Keith asked me to court him last spring, I neither accepted nor declined. Come to think about it, I don't really remember what I did. Anyways, we continued on as close friends for several months, until I visited you for Emma's wedding and realized I couldn't bear to be away from him. Things went downhill from there- essentially I was miserable and went to California instead of Denver, then passed a two- month period where I was more miserable than ever and we don't speak of it. Then Keith found me when he had come back from London- did I mention he had gone to London for his father?- and we got married that same day.

Yes, Anne, you read that correctly. I am a married woman now, I have been for nearly a month. I'm terribly glad we didn't have a church ceremony. Nobody could have been there, it would have almost made me feel bad. I did enjoy Emma's though, perhaps you'll be so kind as to send me an invitation to the wedding of Anne MacEilan and Charles O'Flaherty?

 Still your sister,

Mary.


28 September 1878

Dear Mary,

I'm not quite sure whether or not to be vexed at you or to laugh. How like you it is to tease me so! And right in front of the girls, too! 

I can never stay mad at you for too long, Mary, you know that. I am so very happy for you, dearest sister, and while I do admit that this past year has been quiet here in Running Creek without you, it has been rather nice to have one less person there to make faces at Charles and I through the window, although Jane and Maria do it often. I apologize. I hadn't ought to ruin your joy, for if I am half as joyful as you seem to be then I will have enough happiness to  get me through my whole life! I shall digress for a moment, before asking you any questions, for I am simply bursting to tell someone other than Emma  (Of course I tell her everything, but... repetition and constancy is what makes something not so special anymore).

Charles comes to visit me nearly every evening. In fact, he's bought a bit of land out on the way to Kiowa, about two miles from our house, but he's going to sell it in a few years, to hopefully make a small profit. I know full well what you must be thinking, but we are still quite poor, all of us, and anything to bring in extra pennies goes far.

I digress. Last night (and I shall never forget the date, not ever!) we were sitting by the creek as the sun set, far from the eager eyes of the girls (I had set them with chores inside the house) and there Charles kissed me! I do feel somewhat like I imagine you must- all warm and tingling. I'm not going to apologize for breaking a rule, seeing as we are not engaged, Mary, no matter how much you tease me!

I can only hope that I can feel this way forever. Is that anything like what marriage feels like? By the time you receive this letter you will have been married for nearly two months, and will have had at least a slight experience with it, I assume. I do hope that this happiness I am feeling right now is what marriage is like, for although the girls look at me as though I'm mad, I do quite enjoy it. (Anne loves Charles! Anne loves Charles!)

See, I can tease you too! Somewhat.

I'm awfully sorry now for glossing over your happiness with my own! It is so like me to talk about myself when you are trying to give me news. Next letter, I shall be more considerate.

Emma seems to be doing well, but we all miss her more than anything. I write her every week and when Charles goes to the city to see his mother and sisters (did I mention that he goes every other weekend? They stayed behind when he moved out here) I have him make sure to check up on her.

Must go now. Betty is insisting we go to school now and she does not wish to walk alone (Maria and Jane both came down with a cold and are not going to school. Oh, Betty is the name our Liza has picked for herself now, as of two days ago. Will she ever settle on a name?!

Always with love and best wishes for you,

Anne.

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