Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a valentine in the form of a letter from Charles/Malcolm to Mélanie/Suzanne, which I’ll later archive to the Fraser Letters. It’s the Valentine’s Day between The Paris Plot and The Berkeley Square Affair. If you haven’t joined the Google+ Group yet, one of the great special features Suzi has put together is all the letters beautifully formatted, in chronological order. You can join by clicking on the link and then clicking on the author photo. Or email tracy.teresagrant@gmail.com.

14 February 1817

Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré

My darling,

I was looking at you last night as you nursed Jessica, while Colin dozed beside me and Berowne lay curled in my lap,  and thinking about how our lives have changed. Not so much the upcoming change of our removal to Britain, but the changes of the past. Sometimes one can go an unimaginable distance a few steps at at time, so that it’s only in looking back that one realizes one has crossed a seemingly uncrossable gulf. I never thought to marry. I never thought to be a father. Now I can’t imagine my life without you or Colin or Jessica. Or Berowne for that matter–why did we never think of having a pet sooner?

Without you, I’d never have been brave enough to make the changes it’s taken to get us to this point. Without you, I’d never have been brave enough to face our forthcoming adventure in Britain. To contemplate a return to home with something like equanimity. Even, at times, to look forward to it. With you, I seem to have a remarkable capacity to tackle challenges I never thought I could face. Perhaps it’s because you so bravely take on any challenge yourself.

I know the past years haven’t always been easy on you. I know I haven’t always been an easy husband. I’ve never been good at putting my feelings into words. I tell myself you wouldn’t want fulsome declarations. But I hope you know what is in my heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mel.

With all my heart,

Charles