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There was a light knock on the door.

The candle flickered as the door cracked open but did not wither.

"There's a storm coming, m' captain." The boy looked uneasy to be disturbing him, but his eyes remained firmly on him.

"I shall be coming out in a moment," said Captain Wentworth, putting away the pen in his hand. He carefully set aside the letter he was writing under the nearby book. As he stood up, he cast one last glance to the unfinished epistle. Clear, even in the dim light, were the beloved words: Dearest Anne.

Dearest Anne,

I am writing this letter near -----. Our plan is to reach the harbour tomorrow, so I can post this; tomorrow! Then it will be just three weeks till we meet again, my Anne, and I shall not leave you for a second time. I am constantly thinking about you, sitting in your preferred chair by the window, with your favourite book on your lap, almost forgotten, while you look out at the street.

I can picture you right now, protesting that you could never give up such a noble occupation for idle inspection of the pedestrians. Fear not, my dear, your momentary lapses of concentration make you even more endearing to me, and my teasing you makes me feel closer to you, now that we are separated. I would never admit it to anyone but you, but my sister and Admiral Croft were right. I do wish you were here with me. I would gladly subject you to the hardships of sea-life in order to see you every day. I know it is not possible now, but maybe, after our daughter has arrived...

(Yes, I know you do not want me to make such presumptions. I am taking advantage of the fact that you cannot reprimand me at the moment.)

I specifically felt the need for you to be here last night. Do you remember that sunset in Lyme? How we stood at the edge of the water and you quoted

The gentleness of heaven is on the sea:[1]
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder -everlastingly.

It was like I could hear you again last evening. You would appreciate the terrible and tranquil beauty of the ocean surrounding us. I had never noticed the colours of the afternoon sky before, which you so eloquently pointed out to me; without even saying a word. Oh, I knew about striking sunsets, however I had never appreciated nature's true glory through them. You opened my eyes to them, as you have done to many other things. Yesterday, it was all clear to me; the heavy clouds, the grey of the waves as they crashed at the sides of the ship, the sound of the thunder booming above us. You made me see it for the first time with your eyes and I almost turned around to converse with you about it. You were not there but at least I have this letter to write and soon, my dear, we will be together again.--

I am writing to you now, almost a day after I wrote my last paragraph early yesterday evening. Cook came in just after I had finished my sentence and informed me about a storm. Do not worry; isn't the fact that I am continuing this letter proof enough that I am safe? Storms and smugglers are, alas, part of a sailor's life; and the life of a sailor's wife by association, even though I wish I could spare you. I am not going to insult your intelligence, though, and pretend that these incidents do not occur.

The storm came by, the ship, as I always knew she would, stayed firm, we lowered the vanes and coasted for a while and that was it. Not a soul was harmed.

What I would really want to discuss with you is that boy Cook. You remember what I told you about him the last time I was on shore. I am pleased to say I am making progress with him. He seems more confident now and actually seeks the company of his fellows. I still cannot be sure what was done to this kid to make him so scared when he got here. I have my theories; I have told you about them. The scar on his arm could be telling. It does not matter now. The kid is improving. I feel I must be doing something right. I also must add, my dearest, that I feel so blessed that I can trust you with my inner thoughts; whether they are about my men or our life together.

I shall finish this letter now since we are nearing -----. I shall go to the post immediately hoping you shall receive this quickly. I shall be thinking about you, Anne, and be certain that soon I shall be with you.

Your faithful

Anne Wentworth sat in her favourite chair, in her preferred corner of the drawing room right near the window, her hand lightly resting on her abdomen. The candles, scattered around the room, cast dancing shadows on the walls, but she had eyes only for the letter in her other hand. A smile lingered on her face while she was reading the beloved words for a second time.

She sighed as she reached the last line. Soon I shall be with you. It would not be soon enough. She chastised herself for being so unreasonable, but, sometimes, she could not escape her fears. She was sensible. After all, her husband had survived a war, and his current occupation, working against smuggling, could not be as dangerous. She wondered if it was the sign of love that she sometimes felt so afraid for him and sometimes so certain that nothing could happen to him. That somehow he was destined to come back to her and no one could take him away from her.

Her attention wandered to the street outside as it was fading into darkness. The street, which would bring him back to her. She traced the words with her fingertips and settled to read the letter for a third time.

[1] By the Sea by William Wordsworth