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The Sweetest Darling Loves

by Victoria Shearer about a year ago in love
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Separated by an ocean and separated by class, a secretly married couple long to communicate through a difficult voyage.

The Sweetest Darling Loves
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

My Sweetest Love,

The days have been long since you left. The yellows and greens of the fields don’t seem as bright, and the waves sparkle a little less. I watch the horizon every morning from my attic window, just high enough to see a glimpse of the shimmering water in the bay and pray for your safe return.

I haven’t told Father or Mama about our nuptials because they will not accept it until you can return and prove yourself worthy. Not only will they believe I’ve robbed them of a day of pride and merriment, but they will also believe you’ve robbed them of a chance to redeem their standing.

Everyone wishes you a safe passage, although some more than others, of course. I especially long for you to be back on shore and nestled beside me.

Yours always,

Your darling love.

My Darling Love,

Life is difficult on board. The men aren’t getting along, as I had expected, and I’m unsurprised that no one respects my position here. I too would begrudge someone eight years my junior, with decades less experience, attempting to tell me what to do.

I dream of you day and night. I fear I may have thrown myself overboard were it not for thinking of when I will be back beside you once more. Finally, we will not have to hide our love from the world. I do not mean to be nonchalant, but I could not care less, for as long as we can be together once more.

I long to see the shore before me, and sometimes wake in the night believing I have. I feel the waves steadying and the winds gliding us seamlessly towards where I need to be but awake to find myself below deck amongst my sea-dog comrades.

I hope to be back with you soon enough, but until then, hold me close in your thoughts.

Your Sweetest Love.

My Sweetest Love,

I grieve your presence and hold my tongue whenever people speak ill of your journey, instead picturing your ship appearing on the horizon. Mama suspects something is the matter with me, although I expect she thinks it is an unfounded childish sulk.

I have heard murmurings of a change coming. I know little of governments and politics, but I turn my ear whenever I can, and they believe that any further endeavours will be fruitless to the cause. I hope this will ensure your safe return as soon as is humanly possible.

Your Darling Love.

My Darling Love,

Food is not plentiful, but it is not yet depleted. We came across a shipwreck from a previous voyage, and I must say, it was rather unsettling. Although we reaped the remains of the fallen sailors’ rations, the sea is its own beast, and we are but mere mortals trying to survive its wrath. I feel fortunate not to have met the same fate.

I will write again tomorrow, but for now it is necessary to join the others above deck, for I feel unnecessarily ashamed to spend time exercising my ability to write at the sacrifice of motivating the men on board.

Love forever,

Your Sweetest Darling.

My Sweetest Darling,

You were brought up in conversation earlier today and it brightened my heart to hear Mama speaking kindly of you, although Father was silent, of course. I am sure they would be far less approving of your sacrifice had they known of our escapades prior to your departure.

Eloise has just announced that she is betrothed to a lovely, albeit lacking, boy. He seems endearing and harmless, and despite not possessing a morsel of the character you do, he has won favour. His parents have a large estate, but he is not the primary benefactor, so I would argue that he is little more than anyone else.

Of course, this has led to many snide remarks about my own marital status, but I push them aside in the knowledge that I already possess something far more valuable. I cannot think of anything worse than trading my love with you for the financial benefit of my family!

I wish I could announce our news too, but I am too aware of the consequences. I only hope that you hurry back soon, so as not to endure this endless nit-picking.

Yours endlessly,

Your Sweetest Love.

My Sweetest Love,

We have been told that we are turning back! We are no longer resigned to the endless days of scorching heat and unending boredom. I know I could busy myself amongst the rest of the men on board, but I fear it would compromise what is already a tenuous level of respect.

Two crew mates have passed on to the other side. They were frail to begin with, and the testing circumstances of the voyage took their toll, although it was challenging to witness regardless. I have suggested that we build morale in anticipation of resentment amongst the men, given that some on board are fed more preferably than others, myself included. How does one convince a shipload of tired men to feel jovial about their fate, if you do not know what lies ahead yourself?

Many other men have little to return home to, although this is the only thing that is holding my hope. I would be nought without your devotion and I long for the day that I can shout this out into the world for all to hear.

Your Sweetest Darling.

My Sweetest Darling,

Father introduced me to the most awful fellow at breakfast. He had a tufted attempt at a moustache, an awkward stance, and a disjointed way of speaking that suggests him untrustworthy. It was clear of the intentions straight away. I am all too aware of the ambush that had been attempted, but he was not a patch on you, my love. You may be concerned that I would be swayed by the familial pressure, but fear not, this proposition had me running for the hills!

I approached the man gracefully, and he too was polite and courteous, although I could not help but notice his wandering eyes glancing towards my bosom. I know that the repression of a man in his situation must be challenging, but it was rather uncouth, although regrettably no one else noticed. I was forced to sit across from him but spoke to Eloise beside me throughout. I did not wish to encourage him. I expect that Father finds me stubborn, but alas, that is exactly as I am intending to be.

All my love,

Your Darling Love.

My Darling Love,

I wish there were a way of sending these letters to you. I wish you knew how much I long to return to marital bliss and settle down in our cosy cottage together. I wish I could hold your hand and proclaim our undying love to your father.

Our navigator has been unexpectedly taken ill, which fills me with dread owing to my eagerness to return to you, although I suspect this is due to his gluttony with food rations. He is not one to shy away from the opportunity to take more than his fill.

I know enough to convince others of my abilities, but not enough to convince myself. I am sure any errors I make can be remedied once our navigator returns to full strength. I feel like a fraud, but the bar that’s been set between leader and servant is defined enough to know that I definitely stand amongst the former.

I have been keeping tally of the days, and I am sad to miss your birthday, for I wished to be presenting you with a gift as beautiful as you are. The one loss of cutting our travels short is that I cannot return with an exotic present to give to you, although I hope I am present enough!

My patience is being tested. I understand that the men lament that they are not home among their families, as do I, although I cannot say this to them. In the absence of the navigator, I fear that my inexperience will be taken advantage of. One belligerent shipmate is incessantly talking of bad weather approaching and is now attempting to change our path. I refuse to fall for sure drunken rambling!

Hoping to see you very soon,

Your Sweetest Darling

My Sweetest Darling,

The bells rang earlier, indicating a ship appearing upon the horizon, but alas it was not yours. I ordinarily know little of the differences, but I have poured over books to learn the difference now, so my heart sank immediately.

It is encouraging that one has returned, as I expect you will be among the next to appear, but I can only hold my breath until I see it with my own eyes.

Mama has heard about the struggles from these sailors through the other wives, and my heart hopes that you have not suffered the same troubles. The tales of hunger and turmoil are dreadful, but I know that you have the resilience to battle this to return to me.

I wish that I were able to deliver these letters to you, but by nature of the situation, they must sit within my notebook. I intend to present them to you once you return, so that you can understand the depth of my lamentation of your absence.

Eloise’s wedding plans are sweet and simple. I truly believe she has come to like the boy but liking and loving are two different things. I envy that she has not loved like we have loved, for she would not understand what could lie out there in the world for her. She will close her eyes at night believing that ‘liking’ is enough.

I love you endlessly.

Your Sweetest Love.

..........

My Sweetest Darling,

It has been three weeks since you were due to return. I have heard of longer stories, through troublesome winds or unexpected adventures, but every additional day fills me with more dread.

I suspect Mama has come to understand the root of my upset, and I pray that she has not shared this with Father, for he will do nought but force that distasteful young man upon me. I am not something to be traded and exchanged, for you have taught me that I am something to be valued and loved.

I do hope you return soon. I note down every humorous situation in my head to recount to you once you are back. Believe me, my head is ready to explode with it all, for so many would be laughable to you.

I hope you have not lost faith in my love for you.

Your Sweetest Love.

..........

My Sweetest Darling,

News has been delivered to us today, the news of your passing onto the next life. I cannot believe that I am sat here, a secret widow, without having shared my love letters. I hope that you are here, reading them over my shoulder, understanding each tear that falls from my cheek.

Mama gave me a nod earlier when father was talking of that despicable boy, as if I should let you go, but I cannot do such a thing.

I do not know why I continue writing to you. I do not know how else to express my grief. I am left with little else but to scribble down my adoration for you to be here, otherwise facing the reality that I may be left with no choice but to marry someone that I have come to hate.

My feelings since you left are little more than some scrawling memories on sheets of paper, but they are as real to me as if you were corresponding directly, and I refuse to bow to submission.

I do not know where I go from here, but I love you forever. I love you always and forever, and nothing will ever change that.

Your Sweetest Love.

love

About the author

Victoria Shearer

Lover of writing without previously having a platform (or the confidence) to put it out into the world.

I write from experiences I've had and the people I've met.

I welcome any and all feedback!

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