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"Dearest Lady Russell"
20 October 1814
My dearest Lady Russell,
Oh! What joy I had opening your parcel! Mary and I so longed to view the latest embroidery
patterns in the Lady’s Magazine. The innovative designs are always an inspiration and
opportunity to broaden the scope of my work. You are so thoughtful to think of me while I am
away from Kellynch. Fortunately, I thought to pack the white muslin shawl you so graciously
presented me last Christmas in my workbag, so I have a little fancy-work to delight me along
with helping Mary mend shirts. The Miss Musgroves recently returned from a fashionable school
in Exeter, where they acquired so many accomplishments and have kindly shared their
knowledge of patterns featured in La Belle Assemblée, as well as new approaches for working a
Mary has generously offered suggestions for enhancing my whitework, but alas has been too ill
to attempt any work of her own. She has lately been troubled because little Charles fell from a
tree. The boy is healing nicely, and I am keeping him company in the evenings while she dines at
the mansion-house with the family. It has been excessively diverting to work on the satin
stitches from the elegant sprig pattern featured in the first few pages of the magazine while
sitting with little Charles—they demand such precision! I have been considering ways to modify
the design to suit my taste, as I do so enjoy the challenge of deciding how to add my own
At this last word, Anne put down her quill to reflect on the last few days at Uppercross and the refuge
her work provided from facing her own alterations. The small, delicate stitches she adorned to the fine,
handwoven Indian muslin had been a welcome diversion for her mind while the Miss Musgroves
gleefully discussed their evenings at the mansion-house with Captain Wentworth. It pierced her soul to
think Captain Wentworth found her so altered. Was she not like the shawl she carefully trimmed each
day? Altered by time and little adornments, but still the same constant, Anne underneath everything.
She sighed. Time had changed her physically, but if he knew her, he would understand her heart
remained faithful. Regardless, it was foolish to think any more of him because he would visit his brother
soon and be out of her life forever. She picked up the quill and continued her letter.
Once little Charles has healed, I feel it will be time for me to take my leave for Bath. You will
hardly recognize the shawl with the progress I have made on my trimming when you come for
the season. I remember you had been planning to start a new fire screen. Did you approve of the
oak leaf and flower design? Would it not look lovely with the style of your drawing room? If you
wish, I can cut out the pattern and bring it with me to Bath.