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July 31, 1914

Birthday Tears

Today is my birthday (I'm ancient at twenty-one!) and it should have been filled with gaiety and celebration. Instead it has turned into a very dark moment,  one that I will probably never forget. I am struggling to keep my emotions under control but I fear that I’m under assault from equal amounts of anger and worry. I am quite cross with both Daniel and myself; Daniel, for the things that he is now considering, and myself, for allowing grief to so colour my words. 

The cause of all this disquiet is a letter that came by special delivery this morning. We were just starting to discuss the plans for my special day when the post, a single envelope, was delivered. My mouth grew dry as I registered the significance of the item.

Addressed to The Right Honorable Lord Daniel Gold, the envelope carried the official seal of the office of King of England and was marked urgent.  All lightness of mood left Daniel’s eyes as he read the letter without a word. With a somber expression he turned the typed letter over to me:

From: office of King George V Monarch of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India.

Dear Sir. I am writing this letter to you with heavy mood. Europe is entering into a time of great uncertainty and it is now clear to me the  peace of Europe cannot be preserved. Certain developments, especially in the country of Belgium, a country I have sworn to protect, have led me to believe that it is time for Britain to make ready for the storm that is surely gathering. 

As part of that effort, I am sending out this letter to certain Barons and Nobleman that reside in the farthest regions of our commonwealth as well as the great nation of America. What I am asking of each of you is that you consider returning to your homeland for whatever period of time you can manage. This is in order to help fortify, engage and support wherever you can. Each of you carry a great deal of authority in your large circles of influence in England and still have ties here by way of family and friends. 

My prayer is that during these troubling days, your collective presence in England will help to shape a resolute spirit built on national pride and unity. 

I believe it is time for England to galvanize and make ready. I adjure you to consider being a part of that in any way you can; even if it is just to again place your fingers on the pulse of our great nation and thereby pray with judicious cause. 

This letter is not common knowledge and I humbly ask that you not discuss this with anyone beyond your closest family members. 

Yours,

King George V

As I read the letter I already knew the nature of the thoughts running through my husband’s mind. I felt the tears coming fast to me. 

“No!” I shook my head slowly “Your place is here with me and your family.” I tried to keep my voice firm and even, but to my dismay it came out thick with emotion.

“I also have family in England,” He said quietly. “I can’t forget about Grandmother Ambrosia or my little sister, Felicia.”

“But, you’ve come to America to make a new life. We all have! Why can’t you see that?” My tone now rose in anger, but even as I spoke it I realized the folly of it. 

“Ginger, love, it will probably be only be for a short visit. I shall return.”

I wanted to believe him, but I’m afraid my doubt shone through. I continued to make my case, feeling a desperation I couldn’t explain, only that I knew that my happiness was slipping through my fingers, even as the tea in our cups cooled.

“Daniel, I know that your sense of duty and principle is made like iron; painstakingly formed, but when set in place, firm and unmovable.” I didn’t use the word stubborn even though it teased the tip of my tongue. Such a brash accusation would only anger him, and besides it was too ignoble of a word to describe Daniel’s inherent sense of purpose. It’s one of the reasons I love him, but now it worked bitterly against me. 

Instead I said, “Do you really think that if you go to England and see for yourself the dark horizon that the King speaks of, that you will get back on that westbound ship any time soon?”

“I am a British noble. That is my homeland.”

“You are my husband. We are of one flesh.”

“Then support me in this Mrs Gold.”

The tears now ran freely down my cheeks but I made no effort to stop them. “And what do you suppose I will do here without you? Certainly I won’t sleep at all. This is not like going back for a casual holiday. I will suffer with worry. Britain could go to war at any moment!”

“As I’ve stated, my grandmother and my sister are in England at Bray Manor. You know that. I have to make sure they’re all right. In light of current events it’s very important. I can take the next ship and be back in a month.”

“May I demand that you promise? Give me your word you’ll return in a month no matter what happens.” 

He paused and looked into my eyes and opened his mouth to speak, but he couldn’t. 

I stood up from my un-finished plate, discarded my napkin and ran to our bedroom where I threw myself on the bed. I wept bitterly for a very long time. The tears kept coming even after Daniel gently lay down beside me, taking me into his arms without speaking. He held me for a very long time, until I had no more tears left.

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