My thanks to my beta, Terri Derr (Doc), who writes the Widow Morris series and who generously allowed me to share her character, Emily.
April 8th, 1872
I am overjoyed to hear of your wedding plans. Hugs and kisses to you both.
Johnny is absolutely right about your gown, and I am pleased by his thoughtfulness. The dress a woman wears to be wed is special beyond compare and deserves a little extra effort and expense. I cannot wait to see you in it.
I am equally eager to see Johnny looking dashing in formal attire. He might not believe me, but I am very glad it will not be a morning suit. I have an idea what it could be, and if I am right, I will think he could not have chosen better.
Thank you so much for thinking of me when you set the date. You must know that I would have made the effort to attend at any time, but settling on May makes it all too easy for me, and the journey to Lancer will be a hundred times more enjoyable with you as my travelling companion. Where will you stay when you come to San Francisco? Say the word, and I shall speak to my aunt on your behalf.
The hair style you have chosen is lovely. It should be manageable, and I would be honoured to help. You must see what flowers and greenery are available. We will raid Teresa’s garden and every garden from miles around if necessary. Persephone will be jealous by the time I have finished with you, I promise.
Dr Owens reminds me of my father in his attitude to patients so I am sure Johnny will be riding soon. In Boston, I used to visit Papa’s surgical wards to read to the men and women who had no family. Invariably, once he removed their stitches, their recovery was surprisingly rapid. He did not then so much allow them to move about as bully them to do so. He would declare he needed the beds for the really sick, and even those poor souls who lost limbs were ordered into activity and usefulness.
My dear friend, I wish you would stop apologising. Your talk of horses never bores me. Your latest description, of the stallion and juvenile males, made me laugh heartily; it bears startling resemblance to some humans I know. In truth, I might not picture everything you say so well, but your enthusiasm for your subject inspires me. I envy you your passion in this respect as I do in other ways.
Which brings me to your unsubtle hints about a certain person. You are as bad as Teresa. Please forgive me, but I am not yet at liberty to discuss this subject freely. I assure you I am every bit as impatient to share my thoughts and feelings as you are to hear them, but there are courtesies that must first be observed.
In the meantime, I urge you to turn your attention to another friend closer to home. My cousin Jim tells me his chum Jake Telford plans to visit Lancer within the next week or two, using business in the area as his excuse. As you know, Mr Telford begged me to deliver a letter to Teresa when I visited at the end of February. I understand they have been corresponding ever since. I do not know how much Teresa has confided in you, but I admit to being disgracefully curious, and as she has not sworn me to secrecy, I feel I may mention the situation. I think she is smitten. She declares he is just a friend, but his name appears in every letter from her since my stay at Lancer, and interestingly, in her last letter, I discovered she still has not told her family that she writes to him. I ask you to exercise discretion and your talents as an observer to give me a full report of Mr Telford’s visit. I would like your opinion of how things stand between them; and more particularly, I am eager to learn how the Lancer men react when they discover Teresa is no longer a girl but a young woman with a very eligible admirer.
My life here is all social visits and preparations for my cousin’s wedding. There are a few exceptions, but I will tell you more about those when I see you. Olivia is forever adding to her trousseau, and the gold-edged parchment for the wedding invitations arrived this morning. Your own announcement could not have come at a better time, because now I can ensure your invitations are properly addressed. Olivia’s betrothed, Lachlan Campbell, is the son of Dr. Hector Campbell, a gregarious man of rather flamboyant nature. As the family settled in San Francisco during the gold rush, they naturally have as wide a circle of friends as the McIntyres, and consequently, the wedding list is impressive. Feel sorry for me, dear Emily. My cousins and I start the task of writing invitations tomorrow. We will be suffering writer’s cramp for the rest of the week.
On that happy note, I bid you adieu until next time. I pray by then I will have news to your liking, although almost certainly, you will hear it from another source before I put pen to paper.
Your affectionate friend,