October 10th, 2013 -new!
Yes, my cabin is quaint and cozy, that really does describe it nicely. I am so amazed by what it must take of you to keep straight what to do in that vast dwelling of yours. My, but it must take all of your energy just traveling to and fro from room to room!
Your husband and children are quite right about a town money system shakeup. It was a major change in the quantity of bills in the town, and we're all still trying to properly adjust our prices to suit the new range of spending. I'm glad for the change, but it does take some getting used to.
I imagine it must be quite invigorating to stroll along the harbor for you and the girls. I have heard that the salty sea air is great for a healthy constitution.
How many students does Nan have for piano? Britta has taken a few singing lessons from Suzanne, and she's showing real improvement. Britta has always had so much strength in her voice. I would love to see where some training could take her. There's natural talent I've noticed since she was a toddler and all that's needed is some good polishing up. Hopefully Suzanne is the right teacher for the job. Britta can be willful, certainly, but her spunkiness, if directed towards a worthwhile goal, should truly have some remarkable results.
Have you any preparations to attend to as the cold Winter winds blow in? Birds in large flocks flutter past my windows as I write, showing me that time's getting shorter to get the crops in. Hope to see you before long at a sewing circle.
October 20th, 2012 -new!
Thank you for your letter. Your descriptions of your log cabin are so very quaint - you should write a travel column for the Lady! I'm sure you could make any place sound inviting.
I have not been downtown for such a long while (indeed, I believe it has been since the county fair!) that I do not know what manner of things have been happening there apart from what I hear from my husband and children and they tell me there has been some kind of shakeup in the government and the money system. I am not very interested in that sort of thing but I am glad it is all under control now. Changing money systems is a tricky business.
At the moment the rain is pouring down onto the waves outside the window and all the gulls are gone with the rolling clouds. Lissie and I are going over dress plans by the fire. Nan is teaching young Teresa Berg how to play the piano downstairs in the parlor while their governesses chat in the kitchen. It is lovely and warm inside with all the new fireplaces we had installed in the bedchambers over the Summer.
Edward and William are downtown working at the store and Rachel is out by the stream, washing dishes and chatting amiably with Rebecca Montoya. Although they appear to be having a fine conversation, the poor dears are both shivering. Winter is approaching! How is your household faring in the cold weather?
Regards, Lily Merriman
March 30th, 2012
It is such a nice thing to be able to live out in the wilderness with miles of forest all around you. I find the sound of the rushing waterfall, deer chasing each other through the trees, and animal noises in the barn thoroughly comforting. You should come and stay with me for a while - really! Consider this a formal invitation. I have plenty of extra quilts, and we could have a great time exchanging tales. Escaping city life is a liberating thing. Who knows, you might be convinced to sell the big manor house and move out to the sticks after experiencing the peace and quiet of a middle-of-nowhere log cabin.
The fire is crackling merrily right now, and one of the kittens just discovered a ball of my yarn. (trouble!) Anna returned home about an hour ago with Kirsten, after recording "NafyCast" with your daughter. She scampered up the ladder to her bedroom loft and is now curled up in a blanket and reading a book. A cozy thing to do while the rain beats relentlessly down on the roof. Well, I'd better stock up on some groceries before a storm begins to brew out there. Let me know about coming to stay!
November 14th, 2011
I hope that this letter finds you well and that you are not too unbearably cold down there in that little cabin of yours.
Things are starting to get colder up here as well, which is why I am writing to place an order for 5 new quilts from you and your handy daughters. One each for my children, Edward and myself. I shall pay whatever it is you should require for them, but I must needs have them soon.
Also, Edward would like a new soup recipe to add to the menu at the tavern, so if you could create that as well, we shall pay you for it as well.
January 20th, 2011
Well, I have begun to take charge of my house again! It's just a start, but I made workbooks for all of the girls (except Kirsten) to keep up their education. I suggested to Kirsten that she work on her painting collection so that when she has enough artwork, she could hold an art opening at a gallery! She seems to like the idea, even though it will still be some time until she has enough. Sort of like Felicity and her court gowns, eh? How many has she finished in the last year?
I can't say I know how to make Anders stay busy. Any suggestions? What is this I hear about Edward starting a school for young boys?! I love the idea, and so does Peder!
March 20th, 2009
The remodel of my house is coming along rather slowly, as I am determined that this time I shall keep going until it is perfect. I've finished the kitchen and now the parlour and dining room (they are interchangeable, you see.) Next, I must purge the girls' bedrooms and clean the house until it is spacious and sparse once again.
Rachel is finding a lot of her old baby books and toys and throwing them out, but I may try selling a few at the store. Perhaps Peder would like a few of these volumes? And how is Peder coming? Has he learned to read yet?
February 11th, 2009
Hmm.. it's been so long since I wrote that letter that I don't really remember why Kaya was squishing' those tomatoes. You can betcha it wasn't for Italian cuisine, haha, but it was probably either for cooking or painting purposes. She mixes tomato juice with some oils to make paint, so she can decorate her skins and the walls of the cave.
William's as listless as a leafless tree in August? Golly, sorry to get a bit off topic, but that makes one heck of a tongue twister. Try saying "listless as a leafless tree" 5 times fast. Seriously, try it.
Well, if he's so bored, perhaps he's missing the motivation to be excited about doing things without Pierre. You could try giving him a prize; allowing him to do things that are fun as long as he does the hard stuff first. Britta's going to start bombarding me with requests for a birthday party again since it is in two months. I might let her have it this year if she behaves and does her chores.
Take Care, Lara
June 3rd, 2008
Now why, may I hazard an inquiry, would Kaya the indian be so inclined to "squish" tomatoes between rocks, as you mentioned in your last letter? Is it to create some sort of tomato sauce for her to eat? But surely, her culture is not that advanced yet? And why then, would she be making an Italian cuisine? I am quite intrigued.
William was always a well-behaved little baby and never cried when I requested that he desist the activity. Now as he grows up, however, he is becoming more and more troublesome for Edward and I. He spends most of his days in friendly scholarly discussion with his good friend Pierre, who is, of course, a nephew of Mrs. Lavendar Fox.
Together they are studying the Latin language to assist them in their entrance exams to Oxford, which they both plan to attend come their sixteenth year. All this is well and good, as you may imagine, but as soon as Pierre leaves, William becomes as listless as a leafless tree in the heat of August.
I simply don't know what to do about it besides to give him more duties and assignments to keep him busy.
And how is little Britta? Is she behaving for you lately? And what are her latest projects?
Yours, Lily Merriman
April 15th, 2007
My Dear Lara,
Why thank you ever so much for the kind comments about my New Year’s celebration. Every year I do strive for the very best.
I’m sure that you could do it too, Lara; perhaps when all your little charges are grown and matured like mine, you can hold a town meeting or small gathering with great success.
Now. About this “piggy” issue. You should use it to help you out. Slowly ease Peder away from the toy by removing it when he is sleeping and allowing him to go for longer periods of time without it. Then, reward good deeds or progress by allowing him to hold the pig until he happily feels he should do more of the lauded action in order to feel more of this same happiness.
Elementary babe psychology, my dear.
I am glad to hear that you enjoyed my column on the barn clean-up and that by now (your last missive was in January) you have had the time to use it towards cleaning your own barn. I must admit that I created the article with you and Dolores in mind, as your barns have such a role in the wellness of Pleasantville, particularly yours as you have food sold that comes from inside it. Surely it will help your food to be of even higher quality if the barn is properly cleaned.
Has Kaya been much trouble recently? It has been quite a while since I heard about our town’s native and its doings.
Everyone here is simply thriving. Do reply soon!
Yours, Lily Merriman
January 13th, 2007
You really do know how to hold a nice party, Lily. Every year the New Years Ball becomes more enjoyable! I really cannot imagine how it must be to be the host of all the people in Pleasantville, but I certainly do admire you for it.
I am faring quite well at the moment… Peder is sleeping contentedly by the fire and clutching his “pibby.”
You know I do believe he has started making snorting sounds, to imitate a pig! I can’t think what I should do about it because he is very attached to his stuffed piggy, but I would love to hear any suggestions you might have on the subject. Oh yes- thank you so much for the lovely management column on the barn this week! I have not yet had the time to work on our barn yet, but I fully intend to as soon as I have the time.
I hope your Christmas was full of merriment! Of the gifts I had planned to sew, only a few did not get made in time. However, most of the sewing I have to do is for me now… the girls keep reminding me how badly I need a few new dresses but it is so hard to find the time to start on anything new when there is already so much going on.
When does the sewing circle begin?
Much love, Lara
November 21st, 2006
My Dear Lara,
How are you faring? I have just heard how very cold it is downtown right now, so I can only imagine what it must be like for you all the way up there in the mountains. The chill has come to our home as well, and we are preparing for the long winter.
There are to be so many social events this year that I really must sew myself a proper ballgown, but the time is simply flying past. Good luck making all those things for your children. I’m sure they will serve them well during the long winter. We also will soon begin our holiday decorating and cooking before all the children leave for the Nutcracker rehearsals.
What traditions do you follow down there in the forest?
We are still trying to gather a list of things to do here. We must light a yule log which will burn through the season, as well as garlands and greenery all ‘round the house. ‘Tis so good to decorate with fruit and holly and plenty of candles.
Do write soon! Lily
September 4th, 2006
I completely understand your inability to return my letter immediately. I am extremely fortunate to have found time to write just now since Peder is being watched by Anna and Kirsten. I am in the middle of sewing a nightgown for Britta at the moment, and then I plan to make one for myself and a nightshirt for Anders. Then I will have to embark on making everyone warm underclothes for the winter. I will certainly make good use of the white flannel I purchased at your shop. Well I must say that Britta, unlike Rachel, is the least well-behaved of my children. Sometimes I really don’t know what to do with her! Why, just yesterday she poured coffee all over Peder’s face! I don’t know what would compel her to do such a thing, and I can just be thankful that the coffee was not hot! Anna, on the other hand, is very good with little Peder and loves taking care of him while she does her chores! We actually have a smaller house now, but we have far more land. It is hard to fit in a one-room cabin, but we manage. Good luck with your curtains!
August 31st, 2006
I deeply am sorry for not responding to you for such a long amount of time. Our family has recently gone through a move to the seaport in order to send and receive goods on the ships that come to and fro, and thereby have a well-stocked General Store in town. It has been largely successful so far, as I’m sure you know, and we are still working hard making and importing more goods to make a more diverse and complete selection available.
And how is your family faring? I have heard word of Peder’s good behavior and I must say you are very lucky to have it so.
Rachel was always such a noisy wee babe, why there were times when I could hardly find the time to do a little sewing, let alone cooking or cleaning as the little thing was so demanding!
However, she has very much calmed down in recent years and is now the best-behaved of my children. I have heard about your new home on the hill from Dolores on my daily walk. Is it a bigger house for your growing family? That makes complete sense; why with Nan and William in the same household, I sometimes wonder how they can manage to keep all of my furniture intact during their antics.
Just now they nearly burnt the house down in their haste to finish their duties and be able to work at the store.
Perhaps whilst they are gone, I shall use the temporary peace to measure for my new curtains, as I desperately need them!
Well, please do reply with all the latest news!
Yours truly, Lily Merriman
My Dear Lara,
I am so happy for you in your new circumstance with baby Peder arrived and all your family in a lovely new home.
How are you keeping up with your new responsibility now? It has always seemed easier for me to manage four children than it did when there were only three- simply because Lissie has become so old now and doesn’t do much at all, so my only worries are the younger ones. Why, evenNan no longer causes trouble wherever she goes as it used to be. What a relief that is after all these years of chasing her helter-skelter all over hill and dale!
Yours sincerely, Lily Merriman
February 7th, 2006
I am sorry for the late reply but I have been dreadfully ill with the influenza for the last few weeks. I don’t really want to think what the consequences of my illness might have been had Josefina not come to my rescue! I was also guarded by Kaya, who cooked me some delicious soups and chased away unwanted visitors such as Suzanne Wickon, who had come to yell at me for not being at the food stand.
It is indeed true! There is a baby on the way! It is due in a few months. It sure seems to be a healthy one and very energetic! Kirsten is convinced that it will be a girl but Kaya firmly believes it to be otherwise. The snow has (at last) melted away and Anders is eager to begin planting the crops. How is your family? Any news? Well, I really must get dinner started. I am making corn salad and it takes a while. Write soon, Lily! I will see you at the Parkington’s sewing circle.
December 24th, 2005
Thank you so much for your speedy reply. Yes, all has been resolved since I wrote last. The Nutcracker has forced Edward to take an entire month off his job, and while we have not all yet been able to take a family dinner, I’m sure there will be plenty of those this yuletide.
We just returned from the Nutcracker today. All of the people in our family are in the ballet, so it’s been a while since we were all here at the house together. We’re getting ready for our yuletide celebration as I write.
The lassies are in the front room working out a little performance for Edward and I. It’s a new tradition that I hope we can keep going. ‘Tis such a lovely way for all of them to work together.
What is the yule season for thee? What traditions does your family go through on this happy night of nights? I know that this letter will most likely not reach you until after the season, but my curiosity will be just as sincere then, I assure thee. And oh! Aye, what news your last letter has brought me! A new infant! And when? For you must be sure to see Edward for his advice. He is an expert in these matters and could help you with the process considerably.
Best of Greetings! Lily Merriman
October 15th, 2005
I am very sorry to hear about your argument with Edward. I hope that it has been resolved since you last wrote. My family is all well and busy as usual, and our food stand has never been better. Goodness, Winter is coming so quickly! There is so much to do around here; candle dripping, harvesting, building our new cabin, sewing warm winter clothes, etc. The girls have been such a help this harvest season. Anna is so diligent and hardworking, Kirsten’s weavings are beautiful and even Britta has been taking excellent care of the animals. Also, Lily, there just might be a new addition to the family this winter! Please do not tell anyone about this though, as I am not completely sure yet. Just recently a wolf attacked our chickens and Kaya attempted to squish it but it turned right around and nearly squished her! Luckily Anders shot it before it did too much damage, but Kaya did end up with some nasty cuts. Nothing that boiled bark and herbs won’t heal though. Oh no!!! The pig got into the kitchen!!
September 6th, 2005
My Dear Lara,
What a long time it has been since I last wrote to you! I just realized how dreadfully behind I am on my correspondence. Right now I’m very distressed because Edward has been very rude and hasn’t come home from the hospital and then finally he came home and I decided to ignore him, so we haven’t spoken to each other for such a long time!
Sincerely, Lily Merriman
How is life coming along over in your area of our bustling city lately? I am so sorry that I haven’t bothered to write in so many months. I’ve been troubled with quite a few recent events- the sickness of our dog, Scruffy, the illness of our maid, Sunny, and our house being filled with camera-men and prop-men and directors due to the movie that Nan agreed to star in. I’ll be quite relieved when ‘tis all over and done with, such a mess it does make of one’s nerves.
I am writing now to ask your assistance in a pet project of mine. As I’m sure you know, my daughter Rachel has had a rather strange attitude over the past few months, largely due, I’m afraid, to my unfortunate over-interest in the fashions of the current time. She has become so very changed that Celine’s and my attempts to bring her back to normality have not been completely successful. So I have decided to take drastic action.
Would you, Lara, be so loving and amiable as to take care of Rachel at your cabin for seven days? I could think of no one but you at this current time that could do her more good. She needs to experience a different lifestyle; and I would love for her to be around your girls, particularly Anna, as a good influence to her in lessons of hard work and simple living. Could you agree to this? If you could, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Best wishes, yours sincerely, Lily Merriman