A letter to Lt. Ramsey aboard the Acasta

My dear Lt. Ramsey,

Thank you very kindly for your attention to me in responding so promptly to my last letter.  You would do well to teach my darling Fiance a thing or two.  I understand he is quite busy with his duties, but I do worry so.  You have done wonders to quell some of my worried by your reports that everyone is quite well, and for that I am quite indebted to you.  

Your stories and communications of the goings-on aboard the Acasta bring some light and joy to my otherwise dreadfully simple days.  You have missed very little in the way of excitement here at home since last you left in October; nothing that would satisfy your tastes, anyhow.  The weather has been unseasonably warm and mild, and I hope that it continues peaceful to wherever you find yourselves.  I do hope that you find plenty to do aboard ship on those long days, and after the story in your last missive of Mr. Hamilton in a fit of rage at losing all his pocket money throwing half your deck of cards overboard, I have enclosed in this packet a new set.  Have a care that he does not lose so  many times, and if he begins to turn red about the ears, do be so kind and stow them safely out of his reach before he has a chance to turn this new deck into flotsam. 

I have got my hands on some new fashion plates sent from Europe and have enclosed all that pertain to you  - do not mind that they are French but because of this war it is really all we can get our hands on at the moment.  I have looked them over and I assure you there is nothing that ought to shame you for copying them.   I have not had a chance as of yet to go into town and fetch for you the swatches of fabric you requested – forgive me but I have avoided the task until Mrs. Hegwood is well away for she has made going into town a most aggravating task due to the wedding. I shall go again presently as she is engaged to spend time with some of her family within the next week or so. 

I shall leave off as I have no other business to report – do urge the Doctor to write to me more if you possibly can.

Warmest Affections,

A letter to the Doctor at Sea

4, December 1812

My Dearest Doctor,        
I confess the days longer than they used to be since last we parted in October. Prepare yourself, for now I must scold you, for you do not write faithfully at all, and I must rely on Lt. Ramsey for any news of you should I desire it; you cause me to fret and worry over you so with these great swaths of silence from yourself.  I must make you promise that when we are finally as Man and Wife you will do a better job at keeping our correspondence!  

Life here continues in a fit of do-nothingness, and short of making a few scant decisions, planning for the wedding has come to a halt.  I try not to count down the days until next October, but I know you know me well enough to suspect my failure in doing so.  Mr. Hegwood has suffered very little since winter has begun, thankfully, but on the coldest days he finds himself slower to rise in the mornings and should he sit for long periods with little animation he grows too stiff and requires assistance getting out of his chair and must move about until he is more comfortable.  It has been very mild here, and I do hope for some snow soon.  Last year, as you well know, since our winter was quite warm there was an excess of insects come spring time that was almost unbearable and caused the crops no small amount of distress.

Mrs. Hegwood, you can well believe, has spent all of her time busying herself with preparations for the wedding that I must go behind and undo for I do not agree with them, and changing her mind from delight to perturbation that I had not chosen a better candidate (she had two or three in mind ahead of you, but do not take it to heart). I love the creature with all my heart and has replaced the position of my mother with great alacrity and skill, but her tastes are old-fashioned and differ from mine entirely, and we shall agree on nothing.  

It has rained all day here, causing us all to be low in spirits and heavy in our activities; or as it has been oft today lack thereof.  I so wish to venture out for a walk and escape Mrs. Hegwood’s tiring employment of making unsolicited decisions on my behalf.  You must not think me ungrateful for her help, for I certainly am not, I am only tired and made shortish of temper in my missing your company very dearly.  

Lt. Ramsey informs me in his last letter that the Acasta has been somewhat successful these past few weeks.  I do hope that this success continues and that as little casualties are to be had as possible, for it does make me low to hear of such miserable things in the newspapers, and I live in dread of finding the names of any of our acquaintance among them, or worse yet your name.  The dear Captain must be a truly formidable leader, though, and I trust in him as much as I can. 

As I have nothing else of any interest to tell you, our goings-on are hardly worth writing, I shall leave off with Mr. and Mrs. Hegwood giving all their love and wishes for a hasty return of yourself, and I send even more of mine to you.  Do remember to write me; and my love to all of our friends aboard the Acasta. 

With all my love and affection, I remain to you, ever your beloved;

Emily Waterman

Photo take by Rick Murray