It has been six long years since we last had any contact with each other back in Port Breedy. I regret to inform you, that I am contacting you in the most sombre circumstances. You are my oldest and most trusted friend and I only hope you will have a sympathetic ear, in my hour of need.

I feel like I have so much to tell, I only wish it were a happy tale to tell. My story begins with a marriage to the most beautiful, kind woman you could ever have the good fortune to meet, her name was Gertrude. We married and moved to my farm in Holmestoke, were we both thought it was the beginning of a perfect life together. How wrong we were, our problems started just a few weeks after we arrived.

Gertrude awoke one evening with a few marks of unhealthy appearance on her left arm. This affliction gradually took hold of her arm making it look extremely unpleasant to the eye, because of this I found Gertrude less attractive and we began to drift apart, which I must confess was due to my moodiness and remorse. She saw a doctor on a regular basis but he was unable to do anything for her. This prompted her to become infatuated with potions and superstitious remedies, which I confess to having no time for.

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Whilst Gertrude had been living in Holmestoke she had become very friendly with a woman who lived not far from my farm. This relationship was a not one I looked on fondly partly due to my own foolish behaviour. This was because some years earlier, I had, had a relationship with this woman who’s name was Rhoda. This had ended long since but the result of this love affair was an illegitimate child. Gertrude did not know of our past together, let alone of my b%^*^*d son, for this I felt guilt toward both woman but what could I do?

Time past and I carried on the pretence and ignorance I showed to both women, all the time having feelings of guilt. Eventually my conscience got the better of me and I began to change my attitude toward them both, for the better. I only wish I had done this sooner, I have so many regrets.

Rhoda moved from Holmestoke to nearby Casterbridge where she and her son set up a new life. I visited them from time to time in secret, telling Gertrude I was working. The last time I visited was for terrible reasons, the boy, my son was to be hanged. The time came and the poor child was executed. On his body being taken away, the worst possible scenario reared its ugly head, Gertrude appeared. Much to the shock of both myself and Rhoda especially.

Gertrude had come to touch the body of the dead boy, in the hope it may cure the affliction on her arm. On sight of Rhoda and I together and the realization of who the dead person must be, she collapsed, she was taken from the jail where the body was held, into town. She never reached home alive. The double shock had been to much for her delicate condition, both mentally and physically.

The guilt I feel for both woman cannot be measured, the death of Gertrude is my fault due to my neglect of her condition, both as a husband and friend. The death of my son is my misjudgement also. I was never there to instruct him through life and teach him the skills to steer him away from wrongdoing. I cannot begin to come to terms the guilt and pain I feel for them.

This is the reason I am writing to you, to inform you that I want to move to Port Breedy. To escape the memories which haunt me every day. I have decided to sell my farm in Holmestoke so I would appreciate it if you could look out for any cheap properties that are available or take me in until I can find a property of my own.

I hope you will not despise me for what I have told you, I can only say I am forever going to have this on my conscience and be mentally punished for what I have done to these poor people.

I hope to see or hear from you in the near future.

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