Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Miss Tattman's Year in Review - Part I

A selection of Miss Tattman's letters to Miss Waterman in the preceding months....

Photo by Judy Potter

April 30, 181--
My dearest Emily, 

I write to you with what you will assume to be a heavy heart, but one which I must assure you has been lightened immensely. The long-ill engagement is now officially dead. I shall never be Mrs. John Harrington, and for that I must say I heave a sigh of great relief! What is more, I have been bought off, and handsomely at that! I have a healthy sum all of my own, plus a respectable annuity. I feel as though I have gone through a great trial and come out clean. I am to have the best of both worlds- the independent fortune of a widow, without ever having to go through the pains of marriage. May I live and die an old maid from here on out, I shall be quite a happy one. Indeed, I think I can safely promise you never again to fall in love.

                                Ever your faithful friend,

                                                                Elizabeth Tattman

Miss Waterman corresponds with Miss Tattman.
Photo by Toni Tumbusch.

June 5, 181--


It is all settled, I am to come and join my dear girl in the wilds of America! Father has finally consented to the trip........... Until then, I am so ready to be done with Bristol, where my finally broken engagement is such a story of interest, that I have applied to Miss Jessica to allow me refuge with her in Surrey once more.

I shall take your advice about love under consideration, but I am afraid you may find me a hopeless case. I am too fond of my newly found freedom to even think of another entanglement. And you must remember that by now I am quite an old maid, and settled in my contrary ways.

Of course, I do not expect my friends to live by the same creed. I think, in fact, that I may safely assume that my dear Emily will not be following Beatrice and I to the gates of Hell....And yet neither do I fear losing her to some wild American…… Or perhaps I am merely indulging in fancy, since I have not had the ability to see you with my own eyes for so long. In either case, I know you will forgive your dear Eliza.

Your loving friend,


P.S. There is one proviso attached to my American Adventure- I am to have my third cousin, Mr. Cushing, serve as my escort once I land. He settled there last year after his ship was dry docked or some such calamity. 

I confess I approach the arrangement with a certain dread. The last time I saw him I was a mere twelve and he fourteen, and I certainly felt he used my would-be girlish devotion most cruelly. However I shall endeavor not to let it ruin my spirits, and I believe with your help we may devise several schemes for eluding and outwitting my would-be jailor. 

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