“I love you,” she said, choking on the words. “I love you so much.”

His arms came around her, and as she laid her cheek against his chest, his chin came down to rest gently on her head. “Today,” he said softly, “the twins told me it was the best day ever. And I realized they were right.”

Eloise nodded, beyond words.

“But then,” he continued, “I realized they were wrong.”

She looked up at him, question in her eyes.

“I couldn’t choose a day,” he confessed. “Any day with you, Eloise. Any day with you.”

He touched her chin, brought his lips to hers. “Any week,” he murmured, “any month, any hour.”

He kissed her then, softly, but with all the love in his soul. “Any moment,” he whispered, “as long as I’m with you.”


There is so much I hope to teach you, little one. I hope that I may do so by example, but I feel the need to put the words to paper as well. It is a quirk of mine, one which I expect you will recognize and find amusing by the time you read this letter.

Be strong.


Be diligent.

Be conscientious. There is never anything to be gained by taking the easy road. (Unless, of course, the road is an easy one to begin with. Roads sometimes are. If that should be the case, do not forge a new, more difficult one. Only martyrs go out looking for trouble.)

Love your siblings. You have two already, and God willing, there will be more. Love them well, for they are your blood, and when you are unsure, or times are difficult, they will be the ones to stand by your side.

Laugh. Laugh out loud, and laugh often. And when circumstances call for silence, turn your laugh into a smile.

Don’t settle. Know what you want and reach for it. And if you don’t know what you want, be patient. The answers will come to you in time, and you may find that your heart’s desire has been right under your nose all the while.

And remember, always remember that you have a mother and a father who love each other and love you.

I feel you growing restless. Your father is making strange gasping sounds and will surely lose his temper altogether if I do not move from my escritoire to my bed.

Welcome to the world, little one. We are all so delighted to make your acquaintance.

—from Eloise, Lady Crane,

to her daughter Penelope,

upon the occasion of her birth

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