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An excerpt from Dear Liza

The girls were affecting Laura just as they had affected both Robert and himself. It had been many years since he had seen Laura so happy and content with her life. The Major’s wish that the old Laura would return some day was coming true. Then it struck him like a five-pound cannonball: he realized that he didn’t want the old Laura and that he would rather have the one he was seeing now.

With tears streaming from her eyes, Laura broke the silence and asked Robert to continue his report, and to not miss the slightest detail.

Robert continued to relate the events of the day: Jenny’s whispering into Liza’s ear, “Is this really to be my room?” and Liza’s assurance, “Yes, it’s your bedroom if you really wish it.” Then the little one crying, “I do, Liza, I do.”

“How lovely,” Laura commented as she wiped away tears with her handkerchief. “What about Liza’s room. Tell us everything!”

“Liza’s room was quite similar to Jenny’s, only it was a bit larger.”

Laura gasped, “Oh! How wonderful for the poor little souls.”

Robert continued his story. “After the children had settled, Mrs. Miller asked them if they were hungry. Both said yes and Mrs. Miller gave them the feast of their lives.”

Taking some papers from his pocket, Robert handed them to the Major explaining they were some of Liza’s mother’s writings. “Liza said I should give them to you, but made me promise that I would return them after you have read them.”

“You mean there are a number of writings?” the Major asked.

“Yes, Sir, she said she had nearly a hundred of them, but because they remind her of her mother, and she takes such comfort in them, she couldn’t bear to part with more than a few of them at one time.”

“Thank you, Robert, I will make sure the papers are returned to Liza when we are finished. Good night, Robert, and thank you for your report.”

“Good night, Sir,Madam.”

All that evening Laura and the Major talked about the children’s situation and both felt in their hearts that the Millers would provide a good home for the children.

The conversation also turned to the letters and writings that Liza’s mother had left her. “It’s obvious that Liza values them very highly and guards them very closely,” the Major commented, “so much so she would only loan us a few.

“Shall I read one or two to you?” he asked Laura.

Laura straightened in her chair. “Please do, I’d love to hear them.”

The Major opened the first letter. The paper was discoloured by time and, though Liza had preserved it as carefully as she could, it showed the signs of being frequently opened and refolded. He read:

Letter
Letter

Wiping the tears from her eyes, Laura remarked, “ How wonderful,” then asked her husband to continue reading the other letters.

The Major’s voice quavered as he began to read the second letter.

Letter


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