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21 March, 1812 to Montgomery Preston

A Dismal little coaching inn, knee-deep in mud and nowhere of note 

21 March, 1812

MontyDear Sir Montgomery,

No, no, that will never do. I am sorry, my friend, baronet or no, I cannot call you anything but Monty.

My deepest condolences on the loss of your father. Though I know you have expected the unhappy event for quite some time, I know it is difficult to step into his place nonetheless. I watched my brother endure that transition and uniquely understand the weights you must feel right now.

In your last letter you asked me to recommend a new solicitor in London since Lyman’s untimely demise. I have several men who you might consider to take his place. I will introduce you when next I am in London. Sadly I cannot say precisely when that will be, as I have been condemned to visit my aunt at Rosings by Prince William himself.

Yes, I can hear you scolding me now for calling him that. But truly, even you must admit, when he slips into his haughty, overbearing Master-of-all-he-surveys manner, there is simply no other way to refer to him. He still refuses to leave Georgiana in my care. I cannot begin to tell you how that infuriates me. But you well know it, so I shall not waffle on about it.

Something more than his usual irritation with me is troubling my brother, though, and I mean to get to the truth of it. To be entirely frank. I am worried about him. He has not been himself since his trip with Bingley, and I cannot make out why. Something happened in Hertfordshire, but what?

He does not gamble on anything—cards, horses or sport of any kind. He hardly drinks and would never meddle with anyone’s daughters. I can only imagine some business dealing went sour. If that is the case though, why the secrecy? If you hear anything in town, you will let me know of course.

I have not forgotten about your dream of a matched team for your four-in-hand. I continue to look for such beasts as I am dragged through the countryside by His Highness. Are you really certain you still wish to incur such an expense? I know horses are your single indulgence, but still, you may wish to review your situation again before taking on such an expense.