My dear sweet William,
It is been almost three months since my dear husband departed this life and at this point I hate the colour black. I have almost pulled out my hair with the utter boredom that this mourning has put upon me. I have decided that I don’t particularly care what gentile society decrees I should do, I cannot hope to survive a further nine months in this comfortable prison, which is what my lovely home has become. I am leaving for Rome in two weeks’ time, whether it is seemly or not. I have booked my passage and will travel with my maid as my companion.
I have arranged a house in Rome which will be my abode for the coming year, or at least until society stops whispering behind its hand. I do not intend to have wild parties but I will entertain in the privacy of my own home. I feel the Italians will be more understanding of my circumstances than those in my native England and will not judge me as harshly. I have packed only colourful clothing and will not wear black again under any circumstances. I feel that some dreadful minister may have suggested that widows wear black to make them as unattractive as possible and so keep them in their lonely state and willing to donate generously to church roof funds.
Speaking of which, I have not informed the vicar of my trip as I feel he would put pressure on me to stay; his Tuesday visits have become a nightmare and I find myself become quite proficient at crossing floor space with speed and dexterity. My maid is privy to my plans and as she has no family of her own, she is quite willing to spend time travelling with me. Her name is Milly and she is quite amusing, a character as you would say; she is wise to the vicar’s advances and keeps herself at a safe distance from his rather pudgy, moist hands.
I hope to leave here without any further ado and I look forward to the trip itself, a little fresh sea air will be welcome after the musty rooms of this mausoleum. I can almost smell the salty spray as I write. You will be able to follow my progress over the coming year from my letters. I hope you are keeping well and that you haven’t run off with some pleasant farm girl before I can visit you. I have never forgotten our time together; those memories keep me warm during the cold English nights. But enough of that, I will write you with all of my adventures and in time I plan to visit New England, if there is an invitation for me.
Your faithful cousin,