In relation to yesterday’s post, the real Betsy Bonaparte letter is this one:
I shall go to America if you think there is the least necessity for it. Let me know everything about my finances. Do read as much as you can, and improve in every way. I ask you to reward my cares and anxieties about you, by advancing your own interests and happiness. I am very uneasy about you, and almost blame myself for not going with you to take care of you, and shall never forgive myself if you meet any accident by being alone.
The version I use in the novel is actually longer. Here’s another bit of it that I cut from the beginning, which I find amusing:
They have sent me a bill for six hundred cigars you took at Leghorn [the port of Livorno in Italy]. For heaven’s sake spend as little money as possible.
Bo was only sixteen at the time. I just love the idea that teenagers were still the same two hundred years ago; as soon as Mom’s back was turned, Bo went overboard on something he really wanted and had no sense of proportion about how much money he was spending.
Thanks to everyone who participated in my little guessing game. It was very reassuring to find that my letters didn’t stand out as twenty-first century fakes!