Closed A Sister's Letter
#1
The letter from Emmeline was nothing short of shocking. She'd prepared to never see her sister again. Yet there it was. Her handwriting had improved. Unless it was someone else pretending to be her. Those sort of thoguths abounded as Thom ran from the post office to the tents. 

"Rolph!" She hadn't the courage to open it without him.
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#2
Rolph was shirtless as he was carrying bushels of hay for the horses, sweat upon his body despite the cold as he'd been working around the circus since sunrise. He heard Thomasina call him. He would have hurried no matter what, but the tone had him dropping his burden immediately to the ground and sprint to her.

"What is it? Anything wrong, Thom?"
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#3
“Well... uh I haven’t opened it yet.” She felt bad for making him worry. Even though she herself was worried. “Just that... she never writes. This must be serious. But maybe it’s nothing. But what if it’s a forgery? Does this writing look too fancy to be hers?” Her mind raced as she held the still-sealed envelope up to him.
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#4
Rolph leaned in and squinted a bit as he read the envelope then shook his head. "It could be... if she practiced. Maybe she got someone to write for her?" He scratched his chin uncertainly but his focus at the moment was the woman before him who was worried. He worried too. Her sister had been his friend growing up just as she had, so he hoped it was not bad news.
"If you read... maybe you will know if it sounds like her? Maybe it is not bad news?"
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#5
She pressed her lips together and nodded, trying to be brave. Being careful about the seal, it looked fancy. She tried to imagine Emmeline using those stamper... things. Maybe the crest of the Vanhoys. Did they have crests?

Putting the seal in her pocket (it cracked into pieces inside), she took out the letter and read it aloud:

"My dear sister,
I have written to you with bad news. My husband is dead. It was the consumption. I am coming to Yorkshire to see you. Tell Rolph I love him.

Yours,
Emmeline Glass Vanhoy


... Dead!? Coming here..." Her eyes darted around as if she might spy Emmeline trotting through the tents at that very moment.
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#6
Rolph was a mix of emotions. A part of him was so overjoyed that she was coming and that she had mentioned him in the letter. The other part was that he did feel sad that she had lost her husband. 

"Well, she is safe so that is good news." He looked around as he thought the place was too crowded, where would she sleep? He looked at Thomasina. "We should get her a place to sleep when she comes. Poor Emmeline will be sad enough." Of course, if he couldn't get it in time he would just let her take his room and he would find some other spot to lie down.
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#7
Thom was rife with ambivalence too. Anger, for Emmeline had abandoned them, after such long-sought aspirations to follow their parents' footsteps. Sadness, she knew nothing but passionate love would drive Emmeline from the tents. Hope, that things could return to the way they were. But another part was hard to describe; had Emmeline rejected more than just their nomadic lifestyle? Was she perhaps ashamed of them all? Did she long for a proper English life? Did she wish Thom would follow in her footsteps and find a nice gentleman and stow away the drawers and tailcoats?

"Yes, of course." She replied distantly, folding the letter up again.
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#8
Rolph looked towards Thom, he didn't know a lot but he could tell her distance. He walked over and patted her shoulder lightly. "She is coming back to us. Even if... even if Emme doesn't stay. We get to see her again and talk. It is better than never , right?" He tilted his head, the hope and optimism coming out strong that he hoped it was contagious.
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#9
She betrayed an expression close to tears - one she could do more easily around Rolph. He'd never judge. Thom leaned against him and hugged what part of his waist she could reach.

"It is, you're right. We can find her a bed... I wonder what she'll think of Ellis."
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#10
The large man carefully held her in his large arms and patted her back. "It is ok. We will make it work." A little laugh escaped Rolph. "I am sure she will like him. We do, when he puts on his good side."
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#11
Thom wiped her eyes, smiling. "Put me on your shoulders?" She had a rush of nostalgia. The fun they had together. How she missed her parents. She held up her arms like an awaiting toddler.
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#12
The man laughed and lifted her easily. Even though they were adults she still seemed light as a doll. He carefully helped her to climb on his shoulders and began to walk. "Mind your head!" He said cheerfully.
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#13
She held on tightly and recalled pretending she was an African giraffe rider as a girl. If giraffes had heads big enough to sit on, that is. Where were their shoulders? Why did they look like that??

It cheered her to hear his cheer, and she hugged his head. "If I were lighter on my feet, we could be acrobats." Sadly, she was better at the vaudeville comedy. Tripping on cue, pulling gag handkerchiefs out of her breast pockets. Using walking canes to comedic effect.
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#14
Rolph walked happily, taking long exaggerated strides so that she moved up and down as he strolled around the room. "Oh no, you could be. I would be terrible and if I fell it would make a well the hole would be so deep." He laughed a bit as he kept it up. "Besides, I am scared of heights."
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#15
She snorted, grabbing his head and covering his eyes a moment as she struggled to stay on his shoulders. "So you wouldn't want to be carried on someone else's shoulders?" Two giants holding each other would sure bring tickets though.
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