Ferdinand's Declination

My Dearest Ethel,

When your letter arrived this morning my heart skipped, as it always does. You know that I always look forward to your correspondence, a poor substitute for our secret meetings hidden well away from those who wouldn’t see us together, but welcome all the same.

Indeed, our trysts have been sparse of late, so you can only imagine how much more my heart and body long to be with yours again. I can smell your sweet perfume on the envelope, and I imagine your small hands touching the pen and caressing the paper with its strokes.

To attend and see you at your garden party is a blessing for sure. But it’s also a curse to be so near, and yet so far from the one I love with all my soul. How can I be in your garden, wanting nothing more than to stare into your brown eyes and to hold you in my arms tightly, when for the social rules cast upon us I can but barely greet you with a curt smile before joining the other men as if you mean nothing to me?

It would pain me equally so to bear the brunt of your casual dismissal of my presence too. What world is this in which we live, that our love for each other is allowed no space?

I hear that Lord Hethelwaite has already accepted your invitation. The evil scoundrel! I know of his intentions to ask your father for your hand in marriage. I’m sure he’ll be at your side for every minute that he can – and watching me. I know he dislikes me, that he resents having to support my business as being the only supplier for his own, and that he’d like nothing more than a good reason to expel me from society completely.

My love, it’s not a chance that I can take. To never see or hear from you again is a pain beyond which any man could endure. I cannot trust myself to not look more than permitted in your direction, or to hold back the inner glow of my love for you from showing through with a twinkling in my eye.

One day I’ll have enough money to ask for your hand. How fitting that it should come from Hethelwaite! But until then we can only continue as we have, to meet in person in secret. With a deep melancholy I inform you that I won’t see you at your garden party – but I look forward with all my heart to seeing you again at the time and place we’ve already agreed.

Until then my love,

Ferdinand

Paul Sterlini
Aug 15 2020

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Comments:

A wonderful story, in letter form, written in just an hour! Fantastic!

Rod Webb
Aug 16 2020