I've done it now and it cannot be undone.
ago I feverishly broke the seal with trembling hands and read the
note intended for Aunt and the letter concealed within for Louisa, my
fair cousin who set tongues wagging barely two months past.
I hadn't recognised Mr. Davis' hand! For in that instant I acted with
no thought, though I had the presence of mind to read it by the
window in the parlour where the light is better. And it contained
such impassioned words I've never seen, only heard from Louisa's
lips. After, I re-read it then crushed his anointed letter to my
chest and kissed those inked-smudged words as if I was the addressed:
My Sweet Girl.
wasn't named as christened, I could be she. The one he missed, the
one he longed to have by his side, even though she had caused sorrow
by refusing him and consenting to their separation. A love match that
couldn't be for he had no fortune and neither did she.
And the stuff that dreams are made of to a thirteen year old girl.
How could I not read?! For the forbiddingness of it was part of the
intrigue. I was in raptures until I realised the enormity of what I'd
done. And that what I was experiencing was a lie. I was not Louisa
and I had trespassed, almost knowingly for my subconscious must have
known when I snatched the letter from the salver. I had had my
suspicions it had not ended for Louisa has been pensive, and
unusually dismissive of mine and Mabel's enactments of Shakespeare's
comedies, whereas previously she would have gotten involved, as did
Mr. Davis when he was a friend of the house.
spirit has gone out of her since his departure. Now I know why: she's
waiting for a reply, as well as answers to questions she would have
put for she always asks a great many, and is never satisfied. Her
remarks in return can be biting! More so lately when she stirs
herself to respond, which since her hopes have been dashed can take a
while. Her attention fixed inwards or on a spot which nobody
understands why it's so interesting.
all that I'm jealous. Jealous of what she had and what she lost. Even
her abandonment and her pitiable state seems romantic to a young
girl. She has someone to swoon and cry over. Oh, if that were me! To
be lovesick! She doesn't play the part as I would to the outward eye,
though I am surprised by this revelation of her clandestine nature. I
didn't think she had it in her, for she made no attempt to hide her
growing attachment when no engagement had been declared. And then
when it was and the match was disapproved, she discredited her lover
dutifully and without much emotion.
underestimated, as did others, the strength of her feelings which the
letter in my hand testifies to, though these moods have been more
evident lately, and yet my compassion remains displaced: all for Mr.
Davis and none for her. She does not deserve him! He has been treated
cruelly in this affair. How can he still correspond? And how many
weeks has this arrangement gone on and at who’s instigation?
Louisa's, I wager.
my cousin, but the confusion she wreaks!
won't end well, with or without my meddling. Do I confess to my aunt,
or do I elicit the help of the kitchen maid? There must be some way
to disguise my nosey act...but then the secret would be out. But oh,
the burning guilt if I do not tell a soul. I will surely be
discovered! Unless I destroy these crumpled, tear-stained pages...
is that the footsteps of my aunt I hear? The same impulse, as before,
now overtakes me and makes me tear the precious letter into pieces to
fling, like a bird released, through the open window, to flutter in
gone! My Sweet Girl. My Dearest John.
Picture credit: Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window by Johannes Vermeer