1 November 1878.
Dear Anne and girls,
I can reply positively to your question, Anne, and you know which one I am referring to. The girls will simply have to guess... ha!
I'm apologizing now for taking so long to reply to your letter. Keith and I have been trying to find a place of our own and at last we found one! It is very far from the city on San Francisco, however, several hours by train farther south in San Jose, and we have only just gotten fully settled. By settled, I mean that we've bought furniture, moved it in, met a few of our neighbors, and opened a shop. Keith's never done anything else (and like I'd ever let him go into the mines...) and I never particularly enjoyed farming, so a general store is what we decided to do and it is well- established now.
I have had very little trouble with the people here, surprisingly, and it certainly helps that in the two weeks we've been here, I seem to have picked up Mexican very quickly. There are quite a few Mexicans here and for some reason, I've picked up their language much faster than I ever picked up Irish. Mother may have spoken it to us often but I never really caught the meaning of more than a few words and I could never form a proper sentence. In Mexican I can hold a conversation as long as it is not too fast or too complex, and am working hard to soon be able to communicate fluently. Our neighbors are Mexicans and the wife, Alejandra, and I have caught on quickly and she is teaching me the language. Keith is utterly perplexed when Alejandra and I are together as he has no idea what we are saying. He has yet to find someone here who speaks Danish (that's what his mother spoke to him as a lad- something I didn't know until my experience in Mexican).
But you don't want to hear of my adventures in another language! I'm not entirely sure what to tell you, I never was terribly good at letter writing, but I do feel bad for not writing fully as postage is expensive and a short letter wouldn't be worth it!
So I shall tell you goodbye for now, and wonder whether or not it is better to save on postage and not send it, or know that I am not getting my full value by sending it.
Still waiting on a wedding invitation,
Iain MacEilan is pleased to announce the wedding of his sister Anne
on the twenty- eighth of August, eighteen hundred and seventy- nine
and requests your presence at the ceremony
held at twelve noon in Running Creek, Colorado
5 December 1878
I am so happy I think that I may burst! You asked for a wedding invitation, so here it is... please, please come back for a little while. I do so want you here for me. And for everyone else, too- you haven't seen Iain hardly at all since you left home more than a year ago!
This letter will be rather longer than my first, because so much more has happened in the past few months than I ever could have dreamed would!
Just after we received your last letter, Iain and Katherine's daughter Elise took her first steps! We were all so worried for her, seeing as she didn't learn to talk until she was months past what most babies start at, and then she didn't walk until November, but since then she's improved in her mind so much. She is nearly three years old now and looks like a perfect replica of lovely Katherine.
Then, of course, a few weeks later, Charles proposed to me. I can assume that it was less drastic than what must have happened when Keith asked you, but I shall torture you with the tale anyways.
We were out on a drive by where he's got a shanty and a few acres when he stopped the horse. It was a rather cold night, the sun was just about to go down and it was beginning to snow, so naturally I was wondering if something was the matter, but the sunset was so very beautiful, and before I knew what was happening Charles was talking to me.
'Anne,' he said, 'do you think that you've ever really had time to yourself in the past four years?'
'No,' I replied. 'Taking care of Iain, Mary, and Emma was really rather demanding, and when Jane and Maria and Lizzie- Betty- came around I started to feel like I was already having children of my own.'
He sat and thought for a moment and I didn't think anything of his comment. I'm not entirely certain why the next sentences came out of my mouth.
'I suppose it wasn't bad though, I enjoyed feeling like I was needed by somebody. I just wish that sometimes the people that needed me weren't related or obligated.'
'I'm not related,' he replied slowly, 'and I need you just as much as your sisters and the Jones girls do.'
How was I supposed to tell him that I thought the same about him?
Was he asking... could I dare to hope...?
'Anne, will you marry me? I know I haven't got much, and the first years would be more than hard, but-'
He was bright red and it was endearing, I knew full well that he meant what he said and that I would never have rejected him in a million years.
'Of course,' I cut him off. He looked so relieved, Mary, that I cannot tell you how much more I fell in love! He's always been so sweetly awkward around serious situations and I cannot tell you why I love it so much, but I do. I love him more than I could ever put into words, but I am sure you understand and I sound like a blubbering schoolgirl who was kissed in a schoolyard game.
I feel as though I shouldn't write something so private in a letter, but he kissed me again, and I feel that if marriage is as wonderful as that moment was then I shall die a happy woman. And so we are to be married! I know that the train can be expensive but it would please me more than you know to see you there.
One more thing: Emma is expecting a baby! We (meaning she told me, and by default Charles) only found out about it yesterday. Based on our calculations, the baby will be born in about July. She's absolutely terrified but beyond ecstatic, as am I, and I cannot wait until I am in her shoes- please pray with me that the girls didn't read this letter before I sent it. The only issue is a scandal that I didn't know of until after Emma had married... it may make things hard for Emma's reputation in society and on poor Andrei for marrying her, but we hope that soon Emma's name will be tarnished no more. Don't ask me what the scandal is... I've not a clue, only that there was one and Emma will say nothing. If you can't get the original person to tell you, why go to gossips?
Almost all of my love (the rest is saved for my fiancé- how thrilling it is to write that!),
YOU ARE READING
Colorado, 1877. Mary MacEilan is sick of being isolated and unnoticed. So she does what any young, headstrong lady of her caliber would do: she runs away. Making a life for herself in the city of Denver is not as easy as it sounds- although she beco...