Dearest Bartholomew,

I hope this letter reaches you in Morroco in as good spirits as I am in as it leaves me- the fact that your unit had moved so far came as quite a surprise, though I suppose that you must go where needed.

It was with great trepidation that I awaited your latest tidings, as word had spread to Town that there had been a great battle at your post, and that though Victory had been achieved, many brave men had succumbed to the Savage Indian warriors. I cannot express how relieved I was to hear that you had escaped from the fracas relatively unscathed, though I feel I must chastise you for being so careless as to earn a sabre through the hand- Mother was most vexed at the thought that you might no longer be able to play so well upon the piano as you have of old, and suffered such a turn that it took the combined efforts of Margaret and Cecily to revive her with the salts.

Father and I, however, are both extremely proud of you, and the thought that you, my younger brother by but twenty minutes, have managed to earn yourself the rank of Lieutenant through nothing but good honest work has found us all rightly unsurprised yet delighted.

I remember well the day that Uncle Montgomery first gifted you with your tin soldiers, and the many, many splendid skirmishes that we set up on the drawing-room floor, the settee cushions making most excellent fortifications, and my china dolls acting as spectators to our miniature wars.

Oh, that such days ever had to end! For truthfully, were my childhood to be offered back to me, I would snatch at it with claws that the Jabberwock himself might envy. I am unsure if you have heard news of this already from the others, but I am now engaged, soon to be married. To whom, you might ask? Why, none other than your long-standing friend Gilbert Northlingham, of course!

The date for the ceremony is set for within the next two months, and although this might seem a little soon, there are definite reasons. The first and foremost of these is that Gilbert and I love each other to distraction, although I am embarrassed to admit that any later time could prove somewhat mortifying- suffice to say, should all go well, by the winter season, you may be an Uncle!

Now do not preach at me brother- Father and Mother Dear are not to know, though well I think Mother at least suspects. God is no doubt shaking his head at my indiscretion, but to be perfectly blunt, I was not willing to lose Gilbert to that Harriet Sotherford, no matter how she might have batted her eyelashes and flicked her fan at him. I will spare you the details, but suffice to say, I am content with my decision and condition, and I trust you to keep my confidence.

And there is no use railing at Gilbert, either- the marriage shall only make known to the world the truth that we ourselves have understood since time long passed. We have long reached the conclusion that we were destined for one another, and who can argue with Fate?

So unless you wish to click your teeth in a wholly useless exercise, you shall not berate me or Gilbert, for we will brook no interference. He has recently graduated from Oxford, and with his Medicine, my dowry and his inheritance from his father, we should be able to do quite well by ourselves so long as we are careful for the first few years to forgo any unnecessary luxuries.

Although I am sure that the occasional party should be exempt from this list- you know how I adore playing hostess!

In any case, you must agree that we are a fine match- it is obvious that Gilbert needs someone with my vivacity to counterract his sobriety, and it is so rare to meet a man who will give me free reign in conversation... I know you are probably laughing at me here brother, but I find it so charming how he at least pretends to listen to my ramblings, instead of dismissing me as a chattering careless female.

All in all, I hope both that this letter finds you in good health, and that you will not be disappointed in me, as at long last, your sister the spinster of three and twenty has found herself a match!

Keep well, keep safe, and come home as soon as you can- I want my brother at my wedding, no matter what you decide to think of me because of the circumstances.

Your loving sister,

Katherine Laura Jane Cartwright