Well, it looks like Madam Mariana has her first question, from another Mariana back in 1586 (maybe they’re related across the centuries? #reincarnation) And she thinks she’s consulted Mme Mariana before– in another life?
Cuidad de Mexico, 1586
Esteemed Madam Mariana,
I beg you to indulge yet another question. Since I last wrote we have marked my fifteenth birthday with my exit from the School for Girls. My mother has decided I am ready to be married. I think, after watching my older sister, Leonor, that marriage is not my thing. I want to devote myself to God. How do I convince Mama? Signed, Mariana Carvajal
Querida Mariana C,
your problem isn’t with getting married, it’s getting married to the wrong man. Under no circumstances should you agree to marry anyone right now, trust me on this. Tell your mother that you see visions of Moses when you light your secret candles. That might get you a slap but it will keep you out of the trap being set for you. Blessings, the seer of all, Madam Mariana.
Esteemed Sra. Mariana,
What trap??? Mariana Carvajal.
The marriage trap is one being laid without intent. Who wants to marry you? And why? Blessings, The Seer of all yada yada yada.
what do you mean, who wants to marry me? You have no idea. One, I’m spectacularly beautiful, or so I’m told. My hair is abundant and glossy, my eyebrows arch in the most interesting way, and my skin is the color of a peeled almond. My eyes glitter like gold, and my teeth are small and even. My hips are wide, my mouth is small, and best of all, I’ve got tetas Leonor would kill for. Even when I was at school men would peer at me as I went to the market, carrying the basket for the nuns, or when we attended public Mass. And did I mention that we’re rich? Really, really rich? I don’t know who this Croesus is, though. Or wait? Is that the trap? Is it another spelling of Jesus? Mariana C
what did they teach you at that School for Girls you just got out of? Ah well, Classics will come back into style soon enough. Meanwhile, don’t compare yourself to Leonor. Leonor can’t even figure out how to fold a sheet in two, never mind read or cook or add simple sums. The latter of which you’re pretty good at. Meanwhile, consider turning some of that skill into helping your uncles out with their accounts or something. But get the hell out of that house, as far away as possible, as soon as possible. Blessings, Sra. M seer of all etc etc.
I regret that I shall no longer correspond with you. I have been betrothed to a very fine man of excellent family, Jorge de León. He is my aunt Francisca’s cousin. He too understands and follows the old laws, and I shall not have need of your counsel any further. Respectfully, Mariana de Carvajal Nunes.
From: a Work in Progress, so here’s a photo of another book…