May 24th 1860, Blindingham Hall
My Dearest Boo
I trust this letter does not find you as it leaves me – sad and unsure of what is to come but keen to be done with what has gone before.
Boo, do you remember how we loved to address each other thus? How amused we were to mock the formal convention of greeting by declaring ourselves to be in the most egregious of circumstances and wishing the other would never know such times? You would make me laugh like a flock of birds when you wrote hoping that I was not unhappily married and without children, as you yourself pretended to be, you dear thing!
On this instance, I am sad to reveal that my opening greeting is not a joke – would that it were.
There is not enough ink in the well for me to explain much in this note – I trust we can speak in person before long. I have gifts for LB, who I suppose is still B but much less L, and Angelina, brought from America – but until that time I write this in the hope that you might be able to provide more of your wisdom to help me in my current fog.
I learn that an Act of Parliament has now been passed under which I might claim my freedom from Josiah. Those in London knew of this three years ago – but those of us out in the country, it seems, were not informed by our husbands returning home from their business. I have only just been made aware – from reports that reached the Inn last week and were discussed freely and loudly amongst the menfolk and overheard by the girls in the kitchen, one of whom passed it to Cook, but it matters not how I heard, forgive me – that I might be in a position to declare our marriage over.
Over! I can hardly believe I am writing such a thought. But I must, and I wish for your thoughts on the matter, Boo.
I am happily of independent wealth. Though I would rather Papa were still with me, of course, I am pleased to have his support in the form of the funds I require.
Were I in a position to show evidence that Josiah has been unfaithful to me, I should be able to ask for a Judge to rule that I no longer wish or need to remain his wife.
Boo, how may I come across such evidence – do you know? Has he been unfaithful to me? I am loath to ask him outright for fear he will be made angry and guess my purpose. But simply by the lengthy absence of any approach to me in that regard – I can tell you this Boo you are my oldest and closest friend – I feel sure Josiah has met his needs by other means. Am I correct in this, do you think? Do you know of any way I can be sure that a Judge would believe me?
Please, Boo – if you have any thoughts as to how I might prove adultery on his part, he can certainly not prove any such thing on mine, I would be forever grateful. Any thoughts at all.
I will wait to hear from you. And will wait even longer to tell you why I wish so dearly to be free of him.