Her red box of memories

18 Lotessë: Letter from Leoba to Bardhwyn

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Pelargir, 18 Lotessë, IV4

My dear B

I honestly can’t think what is worse: that my own brother should be gossiping about me or that you, my dear friend, should even for a moment have heeded the gossip?  To set the record totally straight, I am not ‘stringing along’ anyone. Nor am I deliberately keeping you entirely in the dark for I am certain I wrote that Serindë has been pressuring me to find myself a ‘nice’ (meaning Gondorian) husband.

Well, to set the record good and straight, yes I have been proposed to, more times than I care to count (quite frankly, the persistence has become acutely embarrassing), and never have I accepted an offer.   But when I wrote to you last month about Dirk, nothing could have been further from my mind which I why I never went into details.

The important stuff first though. I know that Dirk loves me.  He has told me so and shown me so a thousand times and when he wrote to me he told me so again – that he will always love me – just that he could not be with me. That is not, I am certain, any adverse reflection on the sincerity of the sentiment.  There is ‘simply’ something outwith his control holding him back and I pray nightly for the barriers to melt away.

And indeed, where there is love, there is always hope. You always were mistress of the pertinent one-liner.

But by all the Valar, I would give up everything to be with him again. I think about him morning, noon and night. Half the time I can’t sleep and I lie in my bed staring out of the open window at the stars wondering if Dirk too is looking at those same stars and perhaps thinking of me – and B, I am so, so worn out – because I haven’t seen, or heard, or touched him since Urimë last, when we clung desperately to one another when we said farewell at the Great Gate. Nine months, two weeks and four long days ago.

But I am sorry my friend, you don’t need to hear all this again. Conversation with me would be a good cure for insomnia (if only I could get it to work on myself!).

I should be kind to you and try and satisfy your curiosity about my suitor; yes, his name is Turaglar. Culanir knows him well for he’s an old friend of our family. In short, he’s a decent match (my mother always liked him): he’s a merchant, well-bred and of good standing in the city, a perfect gentleman, financially very secure, not unkind on the eye, sensible and safe.  He is a little portly and grey-bearded but then he does have thirty years on me – his two daughters from his first marriage are slightly older than I am.  You may have even met the younger of the two, Gilwen, who is married to Tarcil of the city guard (he is posted to Culanir’s company).

So as should be apparent from that, the bottom line is that he wants sons and a decorative wife and my family want me to be well provided for.

If it was just my pushy family, I could cope with it, believe me, I’ve had years of practice. However, it’s all got a teensy bit complicated. Firstly, because Turgalar is actually rather good company (with a real talent for finding exciting stories and poems in junk shops) I started spending time with him to distract myself. This was, I hasten to add, not having a clue that there were machinations going on behind my back with regards to him. And, secondly, because he’s only gone and fallen in love (or lust?) with me (fatal mistake in any such arrangement) and then started acting like a love-sick youth. As I mentioned: it’s really quite excruciatingly embarrassing. He simply won’t take ‘no’ for an answer and I am getting to the point where I can’t see him go down on bended knee again! I have even been avoiding seeing him recently because, with my being in a bit of a mess over Dirk’s letter I don’t trust myself to be as gentle as I ought in my rejections.

Turaglar does know about Dirk by the way. I have made no secret of the fact that I am entirely spoken for. But again, as you say, where there is love there is hope.  So, life here is a bit tricky but I am keeping both him and my sister-in-law at bay, in the gentlest possible ways.

I would dearly like to come back to Minas Tirith, at least for a visit. Perhaps it could be managed later in the year, if I am still waiting? I can’t come at present because Serindë has only just been delivered of her latest baby (the sixth boy no less). She needs me here, to help rein in the other seven children as much as anything. It is also rather nice, I must admit, to be able to coo over a newborn.

And there I go again, wondering what sort of mother I may make. Therein does lie madness because you know of whom I think.

I confess I am somewhat jealous of you and Lys. I know that you are sorely tried, but at least you are together. He is a good man – but you know this – and I know he cares very deeply for you.

As for the mouse. Oh, you’ll wish you’d never asked! The cat got the mouse and it was a brutal and bloody end.  Míriel found the body.  Her older brothers wanted to cut it up and examine it in detail (little boys can be so grim) but Míriel insisted that we hold a proper funeral ceremony.  She borrowed the gardener’s trowel to dig a dusty grave and she stitched a miniature shroud. Then we all had to troop out into the garden and stand around solemnly whilst she read out an elegiac poem. It would have been very moving if it hadn’t been for vermin!

I should sign off and try and send this letter with the next convoy up river. May it find you safe and well and your pardon that bit closer to being finalised. I do know how bureaucratic the civil service can be so you have my utmost sympathy on that count. If there is aught good in Arda though, you will get your pardon. I feel sure of it.

Written by leobavorima

January 27, 2013 at 11:30 pm

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