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The Love Letter Part 2

The Love Letter Part 1 | 2 | 3

 

Still, she often appeared anxious about my love affair and would ask questions that seemed to me strange, almost as though she feared that something would happen to destroy my romance. But I was quite unprepared for her outburst when I mentioned that George thought of paying a lightning visit to England before we were married.
"He must not do it," she cried.
"Ina, you must not let him go. Promise me you will prevent him." She was trembling all over. I did what I could to console her, but she looked so tired and pale that I persuaded her to go to her room and rest, promising to return the next day.

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When I arrived, I found her sitting on the stoep. She looked lonely and pathetic, and for the first time I wondered why no man had ever taken her and looked after her and loved her. Mother had told me that Great-aunt Stephina had been lovely as a young girl and although no trace of that beauty remained, except perhaps in her brown eyes, she still looked so small and appealing that any man would have wanted to protect her.

She paused, as though she did not quite know how to begin. Then she seemed to mentally give herself a little shake.
"You must have wondered ", she said,
"Why I was so upset at the thought of young George's going to England without you. I am an old woman, and perhaps I have the silly fancies of the old, but I should like to tell you my own love story and then you can decide whether it is wise for your man to leave you before you are married."

"I was quite a young girl when I first met Richard Weston. He was an Englishman who boarded with the Van Rensburgs on the next farm four or five miles from us. Richard was not strong. He had a weak chest and the doctors had sent him to South Africa so that the dry air could cure him. He taught the Van Rensburg children who were younger than I was although we often played together. He did this for pleasure and not because he needed money."

"We loved one another from the first moment we met though we did not speak of our love until the evening of my eighteenth birthday. All our friends and relatives had come to my party and in the evening, we danced on the big old carpet which we had laid down in the barn. Richard had come with the Van Rensburgs and we danced together as often as we dared, which was not very often, for my father hated the Uitlanders. Indeed, there was a time he had quarreled with Mynheer Van Rensburg for allowing Richard to board with him but he soon got used to the idea and was always polite to the Englishman. Father never liked him."

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"That was the happiest birthday of my life. While we were resting between dances, Richard took me outside into the cool moonlit night, and there under the stars, he told me he loved me and asked me to marry him. Of course I promised I would for I was too happy to think of what my parents would say or indeed of anything. However, Richard was not at our meeting place as he had arranged. I was disappointed but not alarmed, for so many things could happen to either of us to prevent us from keeping our tryst. I thought that the next time we visited the Van Ransburgs, I should ask him what had kept him so we could plan further meetings…"

"So when my father asked if I would drive with him to Driefontein, I was delighted. But when we reached the homestead and were sitting on the stoep drinking our coffee, we heard that Richard had left quite suddenly and had gone back to England. His father had died and he was now the heir and must go back to look after his estates."

The Love Letter Part 1 | 2 | 3

 

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