My dearest William,
I am exhausted from the funeral and cannot bear to be around any of the well-meaning neighbours and Adam’s college colleagues a moment longer. I don’t think black becomes me and fear I look more like a scarecrow than a becoming widow. I don’t know how long I can stay in this city but I have been warned by Adam’s daughter that it would not look well in society if I were to travel or socialize too early; she suggests a full year of mourning as I knew would be expected. I have already tried on some party dresses in the privacy of my rooms to cheer myself up; I’m sure my maid finds me a little strange. Perhaps if I wait for three months all the fuss will die down and I can make my escape.
The Vicar called today, it being Tuesday, to see how I am bearing up. I instructed the maid to stay near the door while he visited. My fears were justified. He had barely sipped his tea when he threw himself on his knees in front of me, declaring his love for me and stating that he could not envisage life without me. I was wildly embarrassed and rang the bell immediately for the girl to take the tray, following her to the door and inviting the Vicar to do the same. I asked him not to call again but he insists that it is his duty to minister to his flock.
No sooner was the dreaded Vicar on his way down the avenue, than Lady Stanley arrived with her horrible yappy dog. Am I not to be allowed any peace? I took tea with her and dropped into the conversation that I am exhausted and that, although I find everyone kind, I do need some time to recover from my bereavement. She sniffed and cut her visit short by at least a half an hour. She feeds her horrible dog from her plate like some savage and tells me it sleeps in her bed. Of course she has had no one else in her bed for decades, even the Vicar hasn’t approached her from what I hear. My days here are numbered.
I will write again when I am in better humour; I am hardly able to put pen to paper at the moment and even find myself boring.
Your faithful cousin,