For months now I had thought you were piqued at me for my delayed return, and thus your silence to me; but today, as I was about to send you another, much more brief, letter, I discovered that the person to whom I entrusted my missive of some months ago, Anne Rumsey, left it in a sack of oddments she had to deliver, and it fell to the bottom of the satchel and got overlooked, and has remained there gathering dust ever since. Thus, you must have taken my silence in the worst light and not written, while I took yours in much the same way to much the same effect. I attach that erstwhile unsent letter to the rear of this one, and suggest you peruse it now.
As you now see, I had intended to inform you of my delay, and when I heard not back from you, I thought you had taken umbrage at my choice, or my reasons, or something else. Or perhaps that you were still upset with me for leaving you the sole proprietorship of the inn and removing to such a backwater as Trestlebridge in pursuit of nothing more than carpentry. As I worked, I hardened myself to the possibility that my return might be met coldly. Weeks turned into months, and the work continued. The Shelton girl's encouraging smile proved to be short-lived, and my work was both tiring and lonesome, though not without reward; the gratitude of the people of Trestlebridge was considerable, and heart-warming.
Ultimately I decided to be good to my word and penned a terse dispatch informing you of my imminent return, which I have since consigned to the kindling pile, once I learned from Mrs. Rumsey that the previous letter yet remained to be delivered. I expect to be back in Bree within a week; should Mrs. Rumsey be prompt, and she assures me most assiduously that she shall not fail me again, as she is most contrite and penitent about her previous transgression, I may be only a day or two behind this letter. I hope you will forgive both me and Mrs. Rumsey. I look forward to the hospitality and conviviality of both Bree and the Peach.
Last week I wrote to indicate my intention to return to the Peaceful Peach, but since then, circumstances have changed most precipitously. Trestlebridge has suffered a grievous fire which destroyed several homes, a barn, and a shop, and caused quite a few injuries. The town is, as you can imagine, struck to its core by this, and Mister Suggs has asked if I could stay on a while longer, to assist with the reconstruction. He particularly spoke of my qualifications, having helped with similar rebuilding in the case of our family's inn.
I was hesitant at first, I must confess, for I had been eager to get back. Trestlebridge is a sleepy village with little to keep a young lad entertained. What's more, there is a marked lack of eligible women entertaining courtship, at least those whose eye might smile in my direction, and whose welcome I have not already worn out. However, in a time of crisis, a village comes together most admirably to offer one another aid and comfort. I got caught up in that spirit of camaraderie, and quickly agreed to remain. (And not merely because one of the comely younger women of the town flashed appreciative smiles, though you may well think so!)
I expect it will be several months before I might once again be enfolded within the cheerful welcome of greater Bree, so great is the body of work before us. I will write again when the work is nearing completion. Please scribe back to me and tell me how things fare in Bree, and at the Peach, for your tales will help tide me over in my time trapped here in this amiable but drably desolate town.