Selle writes back!
It’s clear that she’s happily married and likes her new life. I knew she was the kind of woman who writes run-on sentences and parentheses and lots of exclamation marks.
Ranei Selle astin Hayan to Raissei Cora astin Velain
Thank you for writing, and congratulations on becoming a journeywoman in the doctors’ guild! I was so pleased with your letter, it’s so nice to get news from people in Turenay, the girls in my old house never write except Doryn. She sent me a basket full of delicious things for the Feast of Mizran, not that we need it, we have a splendid farm right here. I’m learning to milk the goats, and when you come you can have fresh goat cheese that I’ve made with my own hands!
You must really come, with or without Aidan (I don’t know if Aidan went to the war after all, it wouldn’t surprise me, he’s so loyal to his brother! And you know as well as I do what men are like). I’m going to give you apple wine from our own apples, and berry preserves, and the freshest carrots you’ve ever tasted. It’s a pity that we ate all the peas, because they were even better. You can sleep in the little room that I cleared out for– well, that comes later, I want it to be a surprise for a bit more. You’ll be surprised at me, I’m not at all wearing the kind of clothes any more that you made for me and I made from your pattern, because they’re not at all practical in a household and on a farm, I wear breeches and straight shirts in the field and for riding (I can really ride a horse now, better than Arin, even he admits that. And I can almost drive a cart, but sometimes the horse runs away with me), like that friend of yours with the quarterstaff, and long skirts and aprons around the house.
Arin and I are so happy! And we’re living in my dream house, too, a big old stone farmhouse with nooks and crannies and little sheds and corners everywhere, painted white, some of it even by myself. I’m busy all the time! There wasn’t anyone really living here except in the hunting season before Arin’s father gave him the house, only a very old caretaker woman (who doesn’t have to work any more now, we’re paying her a pension), not even any proper servants, we had to get people from the village to work for us. But they all like us and they work hard, Arin says because they see me working hard, too.
Arin isn’t going to the war because both of his brothers are going and his father doesn’t want to be without an heir. Strangely enough, neither of his brothers has any children. Well, one isn’t married (and I think he prefers men) but the other one has a wife all right. I’m saying “strangely”, because we are going to have a baby, just before Midsummer!! Arin is so thrilled! And it’s good that he’s not going away, so many people are, even some of our farmhands and the dairymaid. That’s why I’m milking the goats myself! I can’t milk cows yet, when I tried the cow kicked first me and then the bucket and I had a bruise on my leg and all the milk spilt on the ground.
Dear Cora, please come and stay with us as long as you like, or as long as doctor Leva can manage without you. I’m looking forward to seeing you!