She dipped her quill in the ink-house but could not bring herself to touch it to the yellow parchment before her. She knew the fastest way to find the right words would be to start writing and let the words find themselves. Even if she knew this she could not do it.
The sounds of whelps fighting for milk, and the small sounds of their suckling filled her head. She looked down at Smithy in her basket. The red hound lay curled around three fat pups. The sight was like balm to her heart and she knew she had good reason to do what she must do. With a sigh she turned back to the empty parchment and started to write.
I will make this message sort as I do not believe my request will seem a lesser task no matter how richly I word it.
As you are aware, mother is pestering me about the importance of finding a husband before I am too old. Lately it has become more than a simple nuisance as both mother and father, and my sisters, have begun trying to find me a proper man.
Father, of course, has found the son of a lesser noble. He has the mind of a gnat and it is plain by what he wears he wishes to seem much grander than he is. I’ve no intention of marrying him, nor any other man who wears more finery than all my sisters put together.
You owe me nothing but you know me well enough to see that I am no wife. I would end up shooting my husband at the breakfast table and never regret it. I beg of you uncle, for the sake of my fathers honor and my sanity, take me with you when you next visit and teach me to live as you do.
Your loving niece.
She set the quill in its stand and placed her hands on each side of the letter while reading it and rereading it.
The next time her uncle came by, her pups would be big enough to travel. She had trained Smithy well so she had no doubt she would manage the little ones but she would have to get rid of two of them. Looking down at them now she knew killing them would not be an option.
Sundance, Stoutheart and Vetch, two brown and one black. They had been four but the last had been stillborn. Riddle, she had named him because she would never learn what else would suit him.
Her sister didn’t much like the dogs and her brother was certain they all hated him and wanted him dead. A small smile crept to her lips. The pups could hardly run, but still her brother considered them intelligent enough that they should know it was not polite to steal off with someone’s shoe. Vetch had been the worst, her little brother insisted, he had hidden his left shoe and tried to eat the other. At the time his ranting had angered her but now it made her laugh.
Vetch looked up to see what the noise was about and labored out of the basket to get to her.
“Come here you little runt.” She said and he hopped about in delight when she reached for him. She lifted him, noting how heavy he was getting and the muscle he was gaining. Tomorrow she would take them out and let them run. “You wouldn’t want to share a home with an idiot in a fancy suit, would you? No, of course not.” Her mind was made up. Whatever her uncle’s answer should be, she would not spend all her years staring into the idiot face of a snoring man.