A Tangled Wreath by Laura Beers

Dear Margarette

Langdon Hall, Maidstone

December 1, 1815

My cherished friend, can you believe that Christmastide is almost upon us? It is a time that I cherish deeply, even more since my beloved Henry died so long ago. He used to follow me around with mistletoe until I gave him a proper kiss. How I miss him! I never thought my heart would recover from losing him, but your friendship has bolstered me over these years.

I must admit that I look forward to every letter I receive here, especially since we are not spending Christmas together. Perhaps I can host a house party when the weather is agreeable, and we can all sit around and play whist. Wouldn’t that be grand?

You mustn’t fret about me, because I am fortunate enough to have my granddaughter, Arabella, visiting for the holiday. You may have heard the news around Town, but her fiancé broke off their engagement, leaving her utterly devastated. Frankly, I am pleased. I never did care for Lord Eastwood. He is entirely too vain and pretentious for my liking. I’m not quite sure what Arabella ever saw in him, especially since he is a known rake amongst the ton. But I am just the grandmother, and I was forced to bite my tongue for Arabella’s sake.

Even so, I refuse to sit back and do nothing but watch my granddaughter suffer. I know just the man who will solve all of Arabella’s problems. I hope I am not just being foolish, but I do worry about her. She doesn’t deserve the poor treatment she has received. I have already come up with the perfect ruse to bring these two together.

I do hope I am successful at playing matchmaker. You inspired all of us to try our hand at it, and the prospect has given me such hope. I heard that Euota and Eugenia even have a friendly wager in place. Have you heard from them?

Arabella is stubborn and I know she will fight this, but I do so desperately want her to be happy. I have also recruited my dear friend Lady Barrett to help with the scheme. Do you remember her? She is a dear woman who has had much tragedy befall her, as well.

I am counting down the days until Arabella arrives and we can start up this scheme. I feel slightly giddy at the thought of bringing together two people who are destined to be with one another. With any luck, I shall see my great grandchildren before I die. Is that selfish of me? Perhaps, but I am old, and no one can fault me for that.

I do look forward to receiving your letter and hearing your thoughts on the matter. It shall be a Christmas unlike any other, I can assure you of that.

Fondly yours,

Esther