April 25, 1812
Somewhere in Austria, en route to Prussia
My Sweet Genevieve,
When the corporal told me of a letter from Paris, I was overjoyed! Ah, to read the first words from you since that morning which now seems so long ago. I remember you in daisy yellow dress blowing me kisses all way until disappeared. Me standing atop the carriage ‘til you faded from view.
Now I see you in my dreams and in my waking hours, chestnuts the color of your hair, the deep endless lake blues of your eyes, you pouting lips breaking easily into laughter. Oh for those days to come again an soon! Our love will snap us together over so many muddy miles. I, if you’ll allow me, must admit that I value you as a friend as much as a woman, my lover, my wife to-be, you are my confidant, my gentle lover & rambunctious friend. You are my comforting presence and make me feel loved and mighty. You, the memory of you, the dreams of you – remembering you each time I smell fresh lemons or see the daffodils growing by each stream we cross. You offer me reason to come home, you are my source of hope in those tumultuous times.
Oh, but life is not so bad as we travel. I ride in the wagon with Maurice and Eugenio. We know we are fortunate and work hard, even en route. The wagon has heavy cloth sides & canopy to protect our supplies and we often stop away from most of the other troops so to enjoy the countryside. I’ve taken to sketching and using E.’s watercolors. He paints in oils but allows me to watch him with my good natured (I hope) ramblings. I’ll enclose a few of my attempts to give you a sense of the local environs.
We move quickly through villages of only a few shops and houses, across fields of wheat with farmers looking much the same as home. A couple of oxen, a small barn, chickens vegetables. They look on ~ deciding how to feel, it seems. Their home and environs are important to them, no matter who sits in power. It their surroundings and ‘home’, more than ‘homeland’ or king, they would fight for. Let us hope that they are allowed in peace. We should all be so lucky – all of us I mean – to have a piece of land that we reap the whole of our labors from. Free to exchange our efforts for a result of our choice without encumbrance or malice. I hope this is what our revolution brings to Russia.