Portugal doesn't have a national flower, but it is famous for it's Cork Oak trees. The people strip the cork from the trunks to make corks for the local wine bottles.
" My dearest Lillian,
Portugal in October...so beautiful, it is still sunny and warm here. We have been taking in the sights, and I especially enjoyed the architecture. It's like a miniature history of the world, Roman temples, Moorish influences and military precision. The Tower of Belem is a particularly fascinating design.
We are to meet with DOM LUIS FILIPE, the Prince royal of Portugal. He is only 8 years of age, and is already rumoured to be betrothed to our own Princess Patricia of Connaught. It does seem rather strange that in this modern age marriages are still arranged this way, can't be healthy.
The Oak trees here are rather peculiar. They don't have the lovely rough bark as our trees do, but instead are coated in cork!...and they are apparently evergreen! I am sending Marcus a sapling, though I have little hope that it will prosper in rich English soil. Maybe he will prove me wrong.
Your affectionate friend, Ophelia xxx"
"My darling Ophelia,
the leaves are most definitely beginning to fall here at home. We have all but finished the preserving and pickling, and Marcus has been busy building cages to gather the leaves into. Apparently he prefers leaf mould above all else for mulching.
Your comments on arranged marriages have confused me a little.Was not your own marriage arranged by your parents? Do you not consider yourself fortunate to have had such a valiant husband provided for you? It would be nice to believe that we were all capable of a wise choice where marriage is concerned, but when estates and fortunes are added to the mix, love can be easily feigned. Young Ladies such as yourself, who have lead an extremely protected life, may not be equipped to recognise "Love" in a suitor, where as the suitor would most definitely be equipped to recognise "Wealth" in a young Lady.
Though I would like to add, it is always preferable that "Love" should be a consideration when arrangements are being made, and it is clear to all that Sir Richard has had such feelings for you right from the start.
Your ever-loving friend, Lillian xxx"
Samhain's Sirens giveaway no.4 is a signed copy of Dorothy Morrisons "Utterly Wicked" ...which is something we all can be :D XXX