I have gone too far, haven’t I?
I sincerely apologize for my last letter, my language and tone were unpardonable. I have always known how much you adore your dear Papa and the great degree that he in turn cherishes you. You wrote to me, I suspect, seeking comfort and instead I reply with anger and scorn towards one you hold most dear. A man neither I nor anyone else in my family have ever given due credit for being a widower charged with the difficult task of raising a spirited and pretty daughter all on his own.
Helene, I cannot lie to you and say I think his choice is sound or that I do not resent it. I resent it bitterly. By his actions he has insulted my Mother, a lady whose fidelity my Father never did anything to deserve and who has yet never been anything but the kindest, sweetest mother to all his varied offspring. He has wounded your prospects by cutting you off from the consequence and influence of your mother’s family and in doing so he has wounded Rachel’s prospects. Six years will tell if he has wounded Freddy’s as well.
However I must acknowledge there is a wretched truth to his argument. Sophia’s conduct since her marriage has been notorious and that, more than anything, I suspect, is what lies at the root of this matter. My eldest sister’s total want of discretion tarnishes both you and Rachel, but Rachel has a fine dowry with which to buy back her reputation, while you do not. I can well understand my uncle’s anxiety.
Still, I would beg of you not to bend too easily to your father’s wishes. There is a great deal of difference between a modesty properly becoming to a young lady and a purity more in keeping with an ice statue. Must you abandon your studies and use your spell books to improve your deportment instead? I cannot imagine you happy with any man who would marry such an illusion of frigid insipidity, Helene, and I wish for all my heart for you to be happy.
As for brothers and I, we do not signify. Dismiss all I said. We are men (or shortly shall be, given time and inches) and it is not quite the done thing for a man to be too virtuous. To us your father has rendered a great service.
Your most penitent,