My dear sweet William,
It is with deep sadness that I write to let you know that Adam has passed away. His passing was sudden and has left us all bereft and somewhat confused, none more so than I. A window cleaner, heading home from his early morning work, found him on Friday hanging from a tree in Leeson Park and reported this to the police. They informed the college and, in turn, the college informed me. I am still shaken from the experience and, apart from planning the funeral which will be next Tuesday, I don’t quite know what I shall do with my time. I had not envisaged being a widow at thirty two years old.
I had planned to go to Rome for the autumn months to reacquaint myself with the Holy City but know not what to do now. I fear it would not be seemly for a young widow to travel alone but I find the thought of bringing a companion wearisome. I shall give it some thought. My doctor has given me some powders to help me sleep but I have never had trouble sleeping; I did not like to say that, as it seems I am expected to play the part of the grieving widow for those who watch. It is not in me to display my emotions for the benefit of those with voyeuristic tendencies. I did of course shed a few tears for Adam, he was after all a decent man and a loyal husband, however he was a good twenty years my senior and as such more of a companion and father figure than he was a lover. In fact we were only intimate on one occasion and after that I suggested that he might find a hobby.
On a more positive note, he has left me very well provided for with provision for my lifetime. I shall endeavour to maintain the standard of living he would have wanted me to have. Of course I have no idea what possessed Adam to do such a thing, it has puzzled me since I received the news that morning while I was having tea with the vicar; he calls once a week to ensure we don’t forget to donate to the church roof fund. He was very consoling but I do find him a bit touchy, more than I would have thought appropriate when comforting a young widow.
Did I tell you that I’ve taken up landscape painting? I’m already finding them a little tedious. Perhaps I shall do life drawings instead, I may look into it as some point when all these bothersome funeral arrangements are over. Adam’s daughter by his first wife is due to arrive this afternoon. She’s just a weensy bit boring but at least she’s quiet and won’t bother me with questions or share her thoughts on poor daddy. I’ve only met her twice before, once at the actual wedding. She’s quite independently wealthy, from her maternal grandmother, and also now as she’s bagged herself an Earl no less. He is as old as Methuselah but she’s very plain so I expect that she was glad to be married.
I will write again after the funeral and keep you up to date with my arrangements as soon as I have some. The thought of staying in this house for a whole year in mourning is too much. I will have to go away but more of that in my next letter. I may even take a trip to New England as some time in the future.
Your faithful cousin,