A Letter to Lily Boudine from Keira, Lady Donnelly

Dearest Lily,

I was thrilled beyond words to receive your last letter.  I will own to fretting about you.  It has seemed from your previous letters that you are a wee bit out of sorts.  I know that you feel rather alone at Ashwood, but I think if perhaps you endeavor to acquaint yourself with some of the ladies of Hadley Green, you might find your spirits lifted.  I always rather liked Miss Daria Babcock, and she might prove useful to you, as she always can be depended upon to have the latest news. 

I miss my darling Lucy.  How does she fare?  My husband promises to deliver her to me by year’s end.  Oh, Lily, how I smile when I write those words—my husband.  Who might have thought even a year ago that I would marry him?  Molly reminded me that I had said many times in the past that I did not care for Declan in the least, and what a remarkable turnabout I have made.  But I scarcely knew him at all before Ashwood, and I vowed to Molly that I shall give everyone I meet the benefit of doubt and never speak ill of someone I scarcely know again!  I have learned a valuable lesson in my love for my husband. 

I almost forgot!  Our Molly has a new beau.  I don’t care for him in the least, really, as he is from Limerick, and I understand that they are too fond of their drink there.  I could not bear to imagine Molly married to a drunkard who neglects her and his society.  Molly was annoyed with me for saying so, and accuses me of rushing to judgment.  She is very quick to her temper, but as I told her, she is my sister, and if I don’t say these things to her, no one will.

Mamma called today and said that she and Pappa had dined with two and twenty at Mrs. Canavan’s, and the old girl is distraught.  It seems that her son Conor has ventured off to Dublin and has not written to say he is well.  She fears that he has been set upon by thieves or murderers.  Mamma assured her that if there were any innocents to be undone in Dublin, she rather thought Conor would be the  undoing.  Mrs. Canavan was not disposed to hear that assessment of him, however.  Naturally, we all agree with Mamma, as I am sure you do. 

Dearest, you must write again and give me all the news of Ashwood.  You mustn’t let Mr. Fish convince you that all is dire.  I have found that with a bit of encouragement, Fish can be persuaded to view things more favorably than he is naturally inclined to do. 

I must close now.  I hear my husband coming in from riding, and he will want my company.  Much love, dearest.  Do write soon. 

Keira, Lady Donnelly