I know it has been a long time since my last letter. I hope you and your family are well. How are Elizabeth and Alexandra doing at school? I wish Dorothy had been healthy enough to live until the pre-school age. It is sad that I had to bury a daughter and you had to mourn for a niece. Anyway, is your wife well? How about father and grandmother? You know, Henry, I really miss you and our family. I would really love to be back in England right now, but I cannot. It is because of James, Henry. How I wish things are different between the two of us these days. James had changed. He disappointed me.
He did not fulfil his promise to me and to our parents. I do not know what has gotten into him. We used to be so happy. When I first met him in New Orleans, the future seemed so bright and no perils shall ever come upon us that cannot be faced, yet after Dorothy’s death the rock he had been, seemed to have fallen apart. The James Anderson, American merchant, I knew, loved, and married seemed to have joined his daughter in the grave. You do know Henry that even before our little Dorothy died; my husband had turned into drinking, perhaps to drown his fear or to drown the saddening image of our sick child in his mind.
From then, he had been neglecting his small enterprise. We ran it together after marriage but as Dorothy fell ill, I had to leave all of it to him. However in his drinking, he might have drowned not only our daughter’s rather unfortunate condition, but also our source of income. When Dorothy died, my beloved James, and our family’s finances died with her. I now work in a garments factory, my dear brother. How I want to cry when I remember our Victorian home and the way I have forsaken it for a love that seems to have been made up of a series of unfortunate events.
Yes, I have forfeited affluence for this thing I call, unconditional love. Henry, he battered me many a times. As I have told, we are now bankrupt and as I am the only person who earns (minimum wage), he asks me for money to buy his alcoholic drinks. If I do not give him any or at least enough to buy a flask, he hits me. I am always left with no choice. It is either that or he steals the money from me as I sleep. I kept on hiding it before but he eventually finds it so I decided to just leave it lying around. You see Henry, about five years ago, the prohibition had been declared. 1920.
Dorothy was already dead for a year then. James had been drinking already then too. When I heard that the ban for alcoholic drinks has been implemented, my heart leapt in happiness. I thought things will be as it were, but as they say, I can not bring back the dead. My James had been dead and as the years went by, the James left to me only became worse. In the beginning he seemed to have improved. There had been no way to acquire drinks, but the fact that many are leaning to this drink to keep their lives afloat, bootleggers, the people who smuggles these so called “goods”, started popping.
James loved them. He called them “My salvation” and I called them “My condemners”. James became good friends with these people, while I continue to be his enemy. They seemed to him the liberators, while I am just a woman trying to surmount him. It is unfair. It is awful Henry, to see the man who used to look at you lovingly, now look at you in all loathing. It was not long before James became a bootlegger himself. The money he takes from me soon became insufficient to get enough alcohol to quench his seemingly unending thirst.
Since he is too drunk to work, it is the only business that could help him. You do remember that he used to be a merchant. He earned well doing that job. But just a month ago his drunkenness backfired. Losing all remaining dignity he might have had; he collapsed in an alley where authorities were close by. His fall made such raucous that it caught their attention. He was arrested as they found two flasks of liquor by his bootlegs. He is now in jail and I can not even find a means to look at him. Henry, just you wait. I shall come home one day.
My hope is that by the time I am able to save enough for travel, James would be in a rehabilitated condition, that I may take him with me. I know you might hate him for all the things I have said but I cannot act towards him as he does towards me. I cannot look at him with hatred. My love for him is indeed unconditional and as you are my only brother, I hope it extends in our genes. Find a heart to forgive him. I shall pray that I may bring us both home to England soon.
Works Cited Poholek, Catherine H. “Prohibition in the 1920s”. 1998. geocities. com. 4 March 2009 < http://www. geocities. com/Athens/troy/4399/>